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Mexican officials fear 68 buried in mudslide, storm death toll 97

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The death toll from storms bashing both coasts in Mexico reached 97 Friday, while the number of missing in one town was estimated at 68, authorities said.

Rescue teams Thursday searched for dozens of people believed buried in a mudslide in western Mexico, where thousands were stranded or homeless, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Officials said villages in hard-hit Guerrero state were largely cut off from aid because of blocked roads and may have suffered extensive devastation.

Federal Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente said 97 people in nine states died and that authorities were searching the Guerrero town of La Pintada, where at least 68 people were reported missing after a mudslide.

RELATED Hurricane-triggered mudslide buries Mexican town; dozens missing

"We hope all [the missing] are not" dead, Puente said.

Mexico's Pacific coast was buffeted by Manuel, a tropical storm that hit Guerrero and other parts of the western coast several days ago, dissipated then re-strengthened to a hurricane before weakening again. Hurricane Ingrid brought winds, rain and flooding to Mexico's gulf coast.

In Acapulco, authorities continue to airlift thousands stranded tourists, most of them Mexicans. At least 45 shuttles were flown from the resort community to Mexico City Thursday.

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Some tourists, angered at what they believed was preferential treatment by the military for wealthier Mexican tourists, staged a roadblock protest in Acapulco, stopping military trucks that some said they thought were helping privileged Mexicans jump the line for flights, the Times said.

"We are getting desperate; we have no more money," tourist Alfredo Gonzalez told reporters. "We are signed up for a military flight, but they told us there are thousands and thousands of people ahead of us."

RELATED Death toll in Mexico from Manuel, Ingrid stands at 34

RELATED Two storms on two coasts kill 21 people in Mexico

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