Image: Bus victim's coffin.
Eduardo Verdugo  /  AP
Relatives and friends carry the coffin of Luisa de Jesus Gonzalez, who died in a landslide Wednesday near San Miguel Eloxochitlan, in the village of Cuabtlajapan, central Mexico.
updated 7/6/2007 1:49:05 PM ET 2007-07-06T17:49:05

Rescuers called off their search Friday after pulling 32 bodies from a Mexican passenger bus buried when a rain-soaked mountainside gave way.

Officials initially speculated as many as 60 people were aboard the bus when it was engulfed by tons of rock and earth as it traveled on a twisting rural road early Wednesday.

After two solid days of digging, workers using heavy machinery pulled the mangled remains of the vehicle from the ground near the impoverished town of Eloxochitlan in Puebla state. They then sent in sniffer dogs to search for more bodies, but found none.

“The specialists tell us there is nothing more to recover, that it’s done,” Puebla Interior Secretary Javier Lopez told the Televisa network on Friday.

Lopez said Gov. Mario Marin had ordered officials to go house to house in Eloxochitlan to ask residents if they were missing any family members.

Officials said it was impossible to know the exact number of passengers on board at the time of the avalanche because the bus made numerous stops along its route.

Lopez said Marin had ordered the highway closed temporarily. Marin previously said authorities are considering dynamiting the rest of the mountain to avoid future landslides.

Puebla government spokesman Ismael Rios said the landslide brought down at least 100 tons of earth and rock piled 130 feet high.

So far, all but two of the 32 victims — ages 6 to 48 — have been identified, government officials said.

Heavy rainfall elsewhere in Mexico this week has triggered flooding and landslides that killed several people.

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Video: Buried bus


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