Searchers find bodies in storm-stricken town

The News-Times - - OBITURIES/NEWS/FROM THE FRONT PAGE -

Search-and-res­cue teams be­gan find­ing bodies in and around Mex­ico Beach, Fla., the groundzero town nearly oblit­er­ated by Hur­ri­cane Michael, an of­fi­cial said Fri­day as the scale of the storm’s fury be­came ever clearer. But he gave no de­tails on the num­ber of dead.

The death toll across the South stood at 13, not count­ing any vic­tims in Mex­ico Beach.

Mi­ami Fire Chief Joseph Zahral­ban, leader of a search-an­dres­cue unit that went into the flat­tened town, said: “There are in­di­vid­u­als who are de­ceased. We do not have a count, but we are work­ing to iden­tify them.”

Zahral­ban spoke as his team — which in­cluded a dog — was wind­ing down its two-day search of Mex­ico Beach, the town of about 1,000 peo­ple that was nearly wiped off the map when Michael blew ashore there on Wednesday with dev­as­tat­ing 155 mph winds.

Blocks and blocks of homes were de­mol­ished, re­duced to piles of splin­tered lum­ber or mere con­crete slabs, by the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane to hit the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. in nearly 50 years.

Chris Urso / As­so­ci­ated Press

A home still smol­ders af­ter it was burnt to the ground Fri­day in Mex­ico Beach, Fla. Res­i­dents of the small beach town of Mex­ico Beach be­gan to make their way back to their homes some for the first time af­ter Hur­ri­cane Michael made land­fall Wednesday.

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