Villagers mourn family; Guatemala quake toll at 52
More than 90 rescue workers continued to dig with backhoes at a half-ton mound of sand at a second quarry that buried seven people.
‘‘We started rescue work very early,’’ said Julio Cesar Fuentes of the municipal fire department. ‘‘The objective is our hope to find people who were buried.’’
But they uncovered only more dead. One man was called to the quarry to identify his dead father. When he climbed into the sand pit and recognized the clothing, the son collapsed onto the shoulders of firefighters, crying: ‘‘Papa, Papa, Papa.’’
He and his father were not identified to the news media because other relatives had not been notified of the death.
Volunteers carrying boxes of medical supplies began arriving in the area in western Guatemala late Wednesday.
The quake, which was 20 miles deep, was centered 15 miles off the coastal town of Champerico and 100 miles southwest of Guatemala City. It was the strongest earthquake to hit Guatemala since a 1976 temblor that killed 23,000.
Perez said more than 2,000 soldiers were deployed to help with the disaster. A plane had made at least two trips to carry relief teams to the area. The U.S. State Department said it was sending some $50,000 in immediate disaster relief, including clean water, fuel and blankets. It also said it had offered U.S. helicopters if needed.
Associated Press writer Ruiz-Goiriena in Guatemala City contributed to this report.
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