JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Rescue teams have recovered more bodies buried under tons of mud after a landslide hit a mountainous village in Indonesia’s remote Natuna Islands, bringing the death toll to 30, authorities announced Thursday.
The landslide, triggered by torrential rains, hit 30 homes on Monday, engulfing 30 homes in Genting village on a small, remote island in the Natuna archipelago off the South China Sea, the National Agency said. Research and Research Rescue in a statement.
Authorities deployed nearly 700 rescuers, including police and soldiers in heavy equipment, to search for 24 people still missing after they were apparently trapped in homes buried by the 13ft (4m) deep avalanche, said Abdul Rahman, who heads the Natuna Search and Rescue Agency.
“Improved weather conditions allowed us to recover more bodies,” Rahman said in a video statement.
Eight people were rescued alive with injuries, three of whom are believed to be in critical condition, National Disaster Management Agency chief Suharyanto said on Thursday. The rescued were transferred Monday evening to a hospital in the town of Pontianak on the island of Borneo, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Genting, but one of them died at sea during the transfer.
The search and rescue operation was affected by heavy rains around the disaster site. Bad weather forced the search to be called off several times, and downed communication and power lines also hampered the search, according to Suharyanto, who like many Indonesians has only one name.