Mexico storm death toll rises as crashed helicopter found

LA PINTADA (Reuters) – Federal police found the remains of a crashed Black Hawk rescue helicopter with at least three dead crew aboard in southern Guerrero state yesterday, 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 yesterday.

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 20,000 people remained in shelters, according to Governor Angel Aguirre.

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