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Three Dead, 19 Missing in Bastille Day Mudslide at Tourist Camp

July 15, 1987

ANNECY, France (AP) _ Three people died, 10 were injured and 19 others were missing Tuesday after a wall of mud and water swept away a tourist site in the French Alpine village of Grand Bornand, authorities said.

More than 250 rescue workers conducted a massive search for the 19 who were carried away or buried. The mountain river, swollen by a storm, cascaded over tents and trailers of vacationers camping near the Swiss border at the end of the long Bastille Day weekend, according to police spokesman Jean Jouandet.

Officials said 200 to 300 campers and 70 trailers were in the two adjacent tourist parks at the time of the 6:40 p.m. landslide. It was not known how many foreigners were in the camps.

According to witnesses, five or six of the missing people were buried in the mud. The rest were believed drowned, officials said.

Several trailers were buried under more than three feet of mud.

The dead included an 11-year-old boy and an unidentified man and woman, according to officials in the mayor’s office of Grand Bornand, who requested anonymity.

Among the injured was a 3-year-old taken to the Annecy Hospital in grave condition.

Rescue workers, including police, firefighters and gendarmes, said efforts to find possible survivors were hampered because roads to the campsites were blocked by trees blown over in the storm that preceded the landslide.

A crude dam of rocks beside the village broke in the storm, and the rush of water pushed mud and huge rocks into the camps, covering everything within 10 minutes and leaving no time for escape, witnesses said.

Police said rescue efforts would be suspended until dawn.

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