Afghan Avalanche Death Toll Hits 157

Rescue crews work to free the hundreds still trapped
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 10, 2010 6:18 AM CST
Afghan Avalanche Death Toll Hits 157
Members of the Afghan army carry the dead body of an avalanche victim at Salang Pass, some 115 kilometers (71 miles) north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

The death toll from massive avalanches that blocked a mountain pass north of Kabul soared to 157, as hundreds more remained trapped in their snowbound vehicles, Afghan officials said today. Rescuers have recovered 157 bodies from the Salang Pass, a key road that connects the Afghan capital with the north, over the past two days, according to the Interior Ministry. The number of dead has more than doubled from the 64 reported yesterday, as rescue teams scrambled to reach survivors.

About 2,600 people have been successfully rescued so far, and 1.5 miles of road have been cleared for ambulances, bulldozers and other road-clearing equipment. Some 400 police, along with 100 local volunteers, have been involved in the frantic effort to dig out survivors in the last 24 hours. Rescuers reached dozens more of the stranded this morning, including seven children whose mother had died. (More Afghanistan stories.)

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