Landslide in southern Chile leaves 5 dead, 15 missing

December 17, 2017

Mud covers Villa Santa Lucia in Chaiten, Chile, 1270 kilometers (790 miles) south of Santiago, on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Officials said the deadly landslide occurred during a heavy rains. (Aton Chile via AP)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A mudslide fueled by heavy rains swept over a village in southern Chile on Saturday, leaving at least five people dead and 15 missing, officials said.

Rain caused a river to overflow and the side of a hill to collapse, burying 20 of the 200 houses in Villa Santa Lucia in the Los Lagos region, located 790 miles (1,272 kilometers) south of Chile’s capital, Santiago.

President Michelle Bachelet declared the region a catastrophe zone and confirmed the number of dead and missing. She met with her team of ministers to coordinate rescue and assistance efforts.

Earlier Saturday, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Madmud Aleuy said there were three people dead, including an unidentified tourist, and 15 others missing.

Some of the injured were taken by helicopter to medical centers. Two families were evacuated because of a fire caused by the slide, authorities said. Water and electricity service to the area was knocked out.

The alert level in the area had been raised to red because of the persistent rains.

Update hourly