BANJARNEGARA, Indonesia (AP) — A mudslide set off by torrential rains rushed down hills into a village in central Indonesia and swept away scores of homes, killing at least 18 people and leaving 90 others missing, officials said Saturday.
About 105 houses were swept away by the landslide late Friday in Jemblung village in Central Java province’s Banjarnegara district, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Hundreds of rescuers, including soldiers, police and residents, dug through the debris Saturday with their bare hands, shovels and hoes, while others used bamboo to carry black body bags containing corpses. About 420 residents were evacuated to temporary shelters.
Crying relatives watched in horror as residents and rescuers pulled out mud-caked bodies from the village, while distraught women screamed at a hospital, MetroTV video showed.
Nugroho said some rescuers heard what sounded like calls for help coming from the debris, but that a lack of equipment had prevented them reaching possible victims. “Mud, rugged terrain and bad weather hampered our rescue efforts,” Nugroho said.
Tractors and bulldozers were later brought in to help with the rescue effort.
Eighteen bodies were pulled from the mud and the wreckage of crumpled homes, and rescuers were struggling to search for 90 people still missing, said Sutedjo Slamet Utomo, the district chief of Barnjarnegara, located about 460 kilometers (285 miles) east of the capital, Jakarta. Eleven badly injured villagers were being hospitalized.