TOKYO: Thousands of rescuers combed through the wreckage of homes engulfed by landslides in western Japan on Thursday in the slim hope of finding survivors, a day after a wall of mud claimed at least 39 lives.
Police officers, firefighters and soldiers worked through the night in a desperate bid to find seven people still unaccounted for among the sludge and rubble.
Dozens of houses were buried when hillsides collapsed after torrential downpours in Hiroshima that saw more than a month’s rainfall in just three hours.
Throughout Wednesday there were moments of hope, with survivors who had sought refuge on the upper floors of their homes airlifted to safety, but there were also bodies carried away from the devastation wrapped in blankets or plastic sheeting.
Members of a local high school baseball team were among teenagers who kept up an all-night vigil for one of their number, whose half submerged house was the focus of floodlight efforts.