Mexico storm death toll rises as crashed helicopter found

by Reuters
Saturday, 21 September 2013 20:08 GMT

A man stands amidst debris of his destroyed home in Cacahuatepec, on the outskirts of Acapulco September 21, 2013 REUTERS/Henry Romero

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By Tomas Bravo

LA PINTADA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Federal police found the remains of a crashed Black Hawk rescue helicopter with at least three dead crew aboard in southern Guerrero state on Saturday, raising the death toll to over 100 following some of the worst storms to hit Mexico in decades.

At least two pilots and a mechanic died in the accident but it was unclear whether the helipoter had also been carrying any rescued villagers when it crashed, federal police spokesman Jesus Zapata said on Saturday.

Guerrero state, home to waterlogged Pacific resort city Acapulco, was the hardest hit following the heavy rains unleashed by Hurricane Manuel last week.

The helicopter went missing two days after its crew had rescued eight villagers from the flooded mountain town of La Pintada as numerous towns are digging out from under deadly mudslides triggered by intense rains.

Nearly 70 people were still missing, according to federal emergency services, as rescue efforts continued across several states in the wake of two destructive storms that have flooded vast swaths of the country.

Tens of thousands of tourists in heavily flooded Acapulco made their way out of the city either by special airlift planes or the city's main highway which reopened on Friday.

More than 22,000 homes were reported damaged in Guerrero and another 20,000 remained in shelters, according to Governor Angel Aguirre.

A cold front moving into the country's eastern states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz along the Gulf coast was expected to bring more rains across the country over the weekend.

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