Girl, Mother Found Dead in Slide

From Associated Press

A 3-year-old girl buried in an earthquake-triggered landslide in Japan was declared dead today, a day after rescuers pulled her younger brother alive from the wreckage of her family’s van.

The children’s mother also died, despite initial reports that all three were alive.

“It’s so sad,” said Tetsuya Hasebe of the Niigata regional government.

Workers were still struggling to free Mayu Minagawa’s body from the van where she, her mother and her brother were buried in Saturday’s magnitude 6.8 quake, but they had confirmed that she was dead, Hasebe said. The deaths brought the toll from the quake and aftershocks to 33.

On Wednesday, firefighters retrieved 2-year-old Yuta Minagawa, weak but conscious, in a dramatic rescue broadcast live on national television. Shortly afterward, they pulled Takako Minagawa, 39, from the driver’s seat. But she was later pronounced dead at a hospital.


The team worked through the night to reach Mayu but were having trouble because she was lodged in the deepest part of the van, which lay at a steep incline, Kyodo News reported.

A rescue worker told public broadcaster NHK that tumbling boulders virtually demolished the van and that workers had to move slowly because there was a risk that removing rocks blocking the path to Mayu might set off a smaller landslide.