ACAPULCO (Reuters) – Sixty-eight people were missing on Saturday after a mudslide caused by torrential rains that have already killed more than 100 people across Mexico buried a mountain village and President Enrique Pena Nieto said there was little hope any had survived.
At least three crew members died when a Black Hawk rescue helicopter crashed on a hillside near the stricken village of La Pintada early on Saturday. Police said it was unclear if the helicopter had been carrying any villagers when it crashed.
The government said 68 people were missing after the mudslide in La Pintada, which is about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco.
“Due to the amount of mud that practically buried more than 40 homes in this community it’s very difficult to hold on to any hope that they will be found alive,” Pena Nieto said in Acapulco speaking to the city’s hospitality industry.
Guerrero state, home to Acapulco, has been the hardest hit by heavy rains unleashed by Hurricane Manuel last week.
Mudslides and flooding have already killed more than 100 people across the country since last weekend when torrential rains first struck about two-thirds of the country.
Rescue efforts continued across several states in the wake of two destructive storms that have flooded vast swaths of the country.
Tropical storm Ingrid drenched Mexico’s Gulf coast last week while Hurricane Manuel did the same to the country’s Pacific coast.
Tens of thousands of tourists have made their way out of heavily flooded Acapulco, either by special airlift planes or via the city’s main highway, which reopened on Friday.
More than 22,000 homes were reported damaged in Guerrero and another 20,000 people 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.
(Writing and additional reporting by David Alire Garcia in Mexico City; Editing by Simon Gardner and David Brunnstrom)