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Searches Intensify After Another Body Turns Up

Rescuers continue to seek survivors in Mexico Beach, Fla.
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2018 5:30 PM CDT
The remains of a burned home stand after being destroyed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, after Hurricane Michael went through the area on Wednesday.   (Bronte Wittpenn/Tampa Bay Times via AP)
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(Newser) – Rescuers intensified efforts Saturday to find survivors who might be trapped amid the ruins of a small Florida Panhandle community nearly obliterated by Hurricane Michael, where one body has already been recovered, tempers are flaring, and power could be out for weeks, the AP reports. Crews with dogs went door-to-door in Mexico Beach, pushing aside debris to get inside badly damage structures in a second wave of searches following what they described as an initial, "hasty" search of the area. About 1,700 search and rescue personnel have checked 25,000 homes, Florida Gov. Rick Scott says. Authorities say there is little doubt the death toll will rise from the storm, which made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds and heavy storm surge.

The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14, including the victim found in the rubble of Mexico Beach, where about 1,000 people live. "Everything is time-consuming," says Capt. Ignatius Carroll, of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue task force. "You don't want to put a rush on a thorough rescue." More roads were passable along the storm-ravaged coast as crews cleared downed trees and power lines, but traffic lights remained out and long lines heightened tensions at one of the area's few open gas stations. About 4,000 members of Florida's national guard have been called up to deal with the storm, including 500 added on Saturday. Nearly 2,000 law-enforcement officials have been sent into the Panhandle.

(Read more hurricane stories.)

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