Officials: Three children killed after Colombia landslide buries school

Officials: Three children killed after Colombia landslide buries school
Three children were killed Thursday by a landslide that buried a rural school in the coffee-growing municipality of Andes in northwestern Colombia, authorities said.

The landslide hit a group of preschool and first-grade children who were taking recess along with a teacher and the mother of one of the students.

“We give very sad news: three children lost their lives in this event,” the mayor of Andes, Carlos Osorio, told the media, without specifying their ages.

An earlier report had said eight children were trapped.

“Fortunately, 17 students got out alive … the teacher and the mother also,” Osorio said, adding that two other children were already in a stable condition in a nearby hospital.

Dozens of villagers helped rescuers from the military in the effort to save the children.

Video footage shared on social media showed dozens of people with shovels trying to remove a heap of felled trees and rubble. Two digging machines were also deployed.

Eliana Rincones, the school’s only teacher, told journalists there were 22 children present at the time of the landslide.

“We were at recess when suddenly we heard something very loud; we all turned (to look) and in a matter of seconds we all ran,” she said.

“We didn’t even know where we were running.”

The landslide was the result of heavy rains plaguing much of Colombia due to the cyclical La Nina weather phenomenon.

The rains are projected to continue until September, according to the meteorological institute.