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Missing in Tijuana Storm Sought

February 11, 1998

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) _ A sack of groceries wasn’t what Sandra Irene Carranza Torres was hoping for when she saw the mayor approaching her home.

He was helping crews deliver blankets, milk and instant soup Tuesday to dozens of people recovering from an unrelenting storm Sunday that devastated the poor neighborhood of Mexico Lindo.

Carranza, 24, just wanted news about her husband, Nguyen Vantroi Castro, one of at least seven people still missing from the storm that left 13 dead in Tijuana and Rosarito Beach south of San Diego, Calif.

Police had yet to organize a search for the missing. Castro’s co-workers recovered his truck Monday out of ankle-deep mud. There was no sign of him.

Carranza, who has two children and is seven months pregnant, said she warned her husband that a stream of water was rushing down the street and might carry away the pickup truck he was trying to save.

``People farther down tried to tell him to get out,″ she said.

The current carried the truck away, with him inside. Throughout Tijuana, the storm created rivers out of streets, filled houses with mud and clogged drainage canals with debris.

Like dozens of others on Tuesday, Carranza stood outside her home, its outer walls covered in tar paper and chicken wire, as Mayor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan distributed plastic bags full of food.

Osuna said people were being told to go to the higher ground of Mexico Lindo _ which translated means beautiful Mexico _ if it rains again. The community is susceptible to flood damage because many of the small wooden houses are built atop foundations of dozens of rubber tires stuck into the dirt.

Update hourly