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Reports of 17 Quake Survivors Denied by Tass

From Times Wire Services

The Tass news agency on Tuesday denied reports in the Western media that 17 more survivors were found in a ruined bread factory more than three weeks after the Dec. 7 earthquake in Armenia.

French and British broadcast reports said the survivors existed on grain and melted snow until they were discovered in the wrecked city of Spitak in northwestern Armenia.

But Tass quoted Norik Muradyan, chief of rescue operations in Spitak, as saying Tuesday in a telephone interview: “The last living person was removed by rescuers from the ruins of buildings and structures in Spitak 10 days ago.” He said reports of the 17 survivors “have no foundation.”

Tass said that 28 additional bodies were pulled from the rubble since Thursday, bringing the total of recovered bodies to 24,888.

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