October 14, 2015 / 12:23 AM / 2 years ago

Search in Guatemala landslide ends with 280 dead, 70 missing

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemalan rescue crews suspended their search for victims of a massive landslide earlier this month, with the toll at 280 dead and 70 missing, disaster agency Conred said on Tuesday, drastically reducing its estimate for the number feared lost in the tragedy.

Cars damaged by a mudslide are seen at the disaster area in Santa Catarina Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Josue Decavele

Tons of earth, rock and trees buried entire families alive after a hillside collapsed on part of the town of Santa Catarina Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Local search crews spent 12 days trying to find victims beneath the rubble.

In the days that followed, authorities gave fluctuating estimates on how many people were unaccounted for after the disaster. As recently as Friday, with the death toll at 253, Conred said there were still 374 people missing.

However, authorities said they made a new calculation using data from the municipal land registry, the local power company and testimony from neighbours and other sources.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu and Enriques Andres Pretel; Writing by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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