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8 missing after mudslide near Italian border

AP , Thursday 24 Aug 2017
Switzerland
This photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 shows a landslide that hit the village Bondo in southern Switzerland. Police say eight people remain missing a day after mud- and rockslides swept through the small Swiss village near the Italian border. (photo:AP)
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Police said eight people were still unaccounted for in a Swiss Alpine valley on Thursday, a day after a mudslide and rockslide hit a small village near the Italian border.

The village of Bondo, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Milan, was evacuated as the slide hit Wednesday morning.

Police in Graubuenden canton (state) said buildings were damaged, and images from the scene showed a trail of destruction left by a river of mud and stone. They initially said that there were no injuries.

However, police said Thursday that they haven't been able to reach eight people who were believed to have been in the Bondasca valley at the time of the slide — nationals of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Six of those people have been reported missing by relatives, none of them children.

That prompted an "intensified" search overnight. A Swiss army helicopter was deployed as part of the search.

An alarm system went off in Wednesday in time to allow for evacuation of about 100 local residents.

Markus Walzer, a Graubuenden police spokesman, told The Associated Press that the alarm system was put in place after a similar mudslide in the region five years ago. He said the weather in the region had been good in recent days, and the cause of the mudslide was not immediately known.

It wasn't immediately clear when residents would be able to return to their homes.

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