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Acapulco tourists stranded; Mexico death toll 47

ACAPULCO, Mexico — The death toll rose to 47 Tuesday from the unusual one-two punch of a tropical storm and a hurricane hitting Mexico at nearly the same time. Authorities scrambled to get help into, and stranded tourists out of, the cutoff resort city of Acapulco.

With roads blocked by landslides, rockslides, floods and collapsed bridges, Acapulco was cut off from road transport after Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall Sunday. The terminal at the city's international airport was flooded, but not the landing strips.

Commercial carriers and the Mexican military responded by setting up flights ferrying tourists to a nearby concert hall instead of the terminal. Emergency flights began arriving in Acapulco to evacuate at least 40,000 mainly Mexican tourists stranded in the resort city, where some streets were transformed into raging brown rivers.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told the Radio Formula that 27 people had died because of the storm in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located. Osorio Chong said 20 more people died nationwide, many as a result of former Hurricane Ingrid, which struck the Gulf Coast on Monday. Mexican meteorologists said it was the first time since 1958 that two tropical storms or hurricanes had hit both the country's coasts within 24 hours.

While most Acapulco hotels seemed to be operating normally Tuesday, many outlying neighborhoods were without water or electricity.

Federal officials said it could take at least another day to open the main highway to Acapulco, which was hit by more than 13 landslides from surrounding hills, and to bring food and relief supplies into the city of more than 800,000 people.

Remnants of Manuel continued to drench Mexico further up the Pacific coast and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it could regain force near resorts at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

Acapulco tourists stranded; Mexico death toll 47 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:52pm]
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