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Hundreds missing in Guatemala landslide

A rain-soaked hillside has collapsed onto a neighborhood on the outskirts of Guatemala's capital. At least 26 people were killed in the landslide while scores are missing.

In Guatemala City, hundreds of rescue workers used shovels and backhoes to search for survivors on Friday after a hillside collapsed.

Alejandro Maldonado, the head of the Guatemalan disaster agency CONRED, told a news conference earlier on Friday that as many as 600 could still be missing after the landslide hit 125 homes.

A spokesman for Guatemala's volunteer firefighters said the dead, which included two babies, were carried to an improvised morgue, where relatives identified their bodies. Families continued to show up looking for people who hadn't been accounted for. At least 36 people were taken to hospitals with injuries.

The landslide occurred about 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Guatemala City in Cambray, a neighborhood in the suburb of Santa Catarina Pinula. The hillside partly collapsed onto a 200-foot (60-meter) stretch of the village just before midnight and buried an estimated 68 homes.

Dulce del Carmen Lavarenzo Pu, 28, had just returned from church when the wave of mud swept down just 150 feet (50 meters) from her home.

"I heard this terrible noise and everything began to shake," said Lavarenzo Pu said. "Everything went black, because the lights went out."

The landslide was one of the worst in recent memory in the poor Central American country. Last month, the country was shaken by the arrest of its president on corruption charges.

av/jr (AP, Reuters)