Landslide buries about 30 people in Colombia

A landslide buried about 30 people on a highway in north-western Colombia, authorities said on Monday, adding it was unlikely there would be survivors found.

“It has been confirmed that about 30 people have been buried in the rubble from this landslide (in Antioquia department), which is quite large,” said John Rendon, Antioquia’s disaster prevention chief.

A torrent of 100,000 cubic meters (3.5 million cubic feet) of earth swept onto a highway in the town of Giraldo, which leads to the city of Medellin, Rendon said.

“In light of the amount of earth that fell on them, we think there is no probability that they are alive.”

The landslide appeared to have struck as passengers on a bus that had broken down were transferring to another vehicle.

Search and rescue operations were suspected at 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Tuesday), a little more than four hours after the disaster, amid fears that more loosened earth could come tumbling down.

The landslide comes in the midst of a deadly rainy season for much of Central and Latin America, including Colombia, where 74 people have been killed in incidents related to heavy rains since the beginning of the year.

The government has called on local authorities to take precautionary measures where possible to limit the casualties amid floods and landslides.