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Storm Kills 12 in Belize, Honduras

November 20, 2005|From Times Wire Services

EL PROGRESO, Honduras — Tropical Storm Gamma lashed Central America with heavy rain Saturday, killing at least a dozen people and cutting off part of the Honduran coast.

"There are people on the roofs of their homes due to flooding," President Ricardo Maduro told journalists here.

Gamma's heavy rains were linked to the deaths of at least nine people in Honduras and 14 others were missing, officials said. Several people disappeared when a rescue boat overturned in a raging river.

In Belize, search teams said bad weather associated with Gamma caused the crash of a private plane from the Hidden Valley Inn, an exclusive lodge owned by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. A pilot and two passengers were killed, said G. Michael Reid, a police spokesman. A spokeswoman for Coppola would not give the passengers' names but said they were resort guests whom Coppola didn't know.

Honduran officials estimated that more than 50,000 people along the Caribbean coast were cut off after bridges were damaged or destroyed.

The record 24th major storm in the Atlantic hurricane season was cutting a slow, erratic course toward Cuba and was expected to bypass Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

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