Rio de Janeiro hotel landslide search continues

January 1st, 2010

Image reproduced from TV Globo

Image reproduced from TV Globo

Seventeen bodies have so far been pulled from rubble close to the site of an exclusive hillside hotel in Rio de Janeiro state, after heavy rains caused landslides, media reports say.

Twelve tourists are reportedly among the dead at the Ilha Grande island beach resort near Angra dos Reis.

Authorities say around forty guests were staying at the $275-a-night Sankay hotel-guest house at Praia do Bananal, though many of the deceased are believed to be local residents.

Around 100 fire-fighters, police and other rescue workers are said to be involved in frantic rescue efforts, though it’s not known how many people may be buried under debris.

At least 10 survivors were taken to hospitals in Rio de Janeiro and Sấo Paulo states on New Year’s day, while the death toll from landslides in the last three days in the Angra dos Reis region is put at as high as 46.

Landslides are an all-too-frequent occurence in Brazil, particularly in poorer areas, where shantytowns or slums are often built on slopes.

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