The Latest: Guatemala volcano death toll rises to 62
EL RODEO, Guatemala (AP) – The known death toll for the eruption of Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire has taken a sudden jump upward.
The director of Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Science says that 62 bodies have been recovered following the eruption.
Fanuel Garcia said Monday that only 13 of those bodies have so far been identified. The bodies were recovered in the hamlets of Los Lotes and El Rodeo.
The head of the country’s disaster agency had previously put the death toll at 33, but warned it would go higher.
The volcano west of Guatemala City staged and explosive eruption Sunday, burying surrounding hamlets in hot ash and mud that gave residents on the volcano’s flanks little time to escape.
EL RODEO, Guatemala (AP) – The head of Guatemala’s disaster agency says 33 people are confirmed dead in the explosive eruption of the Volcano of Fire, and the toll is expected to rise further.
Rescuers are using heavy machinery and shovels have found the bodies of at least eight more victims since the last death toll was given at 25.
Disaster agency chief Sergio Cabanas also said Monday that helicopters had rescued 10 people from areas hit by thick ash, mud or lava.
The volcano exploded Sunday, sending ash high into the sky and lava flows cascading into rural hamlets on the mountain’s slopes.
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (ABC NEWS) – At least 25 people, including at least three children, have died after the most violent volcanic eruption in Guatemala in more than a century, authorities said.
The Volcan de Fuego, Spanish for “Volcano of Fire,” erupted Sunday and released a 5-mile stream of lava, a pyroclastic cloud and ash that fell over nearby Guatemala City, the country’s capital.
About 3,100 people were evacuated and nearly 300 have been injured after the eruption, according to the country’s disaster agency. The airport was also closed because of the danger that floating hot ash posed to aircraft.
Officials reportedly advised residents to wear masks to protect against any ash still in the air.
Smaller villages closer to the volcano, however, were severely affected. Rivers of lava poured into several villages, with media reports showing images of charred bodies and injured residents covered in ash.
One woman who narrowly escaped from a lava flow told news outlet Diario de Centroamerica, “Not everyone escaped. I think they were buried.”
Footage showed rescue teams working in darkness trying to enter homes to look for trapped residents, particularly the elderly.
Fuego’s eruption is the biggest since 1902, when the Santa Maria volcano erupted, killed thousands of people.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he was convening his ministers and considering declaring a state of emergency in several of the affected areas.
Officials warn that the eruption still poses a risk, especially given the possibility of continued pyroclastic flows.