Wed, Dec 29, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Death toll of holiday makers mounts

HOLIDAY IN HELL The foreign ministries of dozens of Western countries collectively reported that hundreds are missing or have been killed while touring Asia

AP , SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

The Australian death toll in Asia's tsunamis has risen to six and 11 others still missing are feared dead, the government said yesterday.

The six confirmed dead were all killed in Thailand, among them a 6-month-old baby torn from her father's arms at the resort of Phuket, a 3-year-old girl, and a 16-year-old boy who suffered from Down syndrome, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Justin Lee.

Seven others are missing in Thailand, one in Sri Lanka and three in India's Nicobar Islands, Lee said.

Six-month-old Melina Heppell of Western Australia state was swept from her father's arms on Phuket's Patong Beach, a relative said Monday.

"They were walking along Patong Beach yesterday ... he thought he had the baby in his hands, but all he had was clothes. So the baby's gone," her uncle Simon Illingworth told television's Channel Nine news.

Prime Minister John Howard said about 5,500 Australians were in places hit by the waves.

He also expressed sympathy for the countries hammered by Sunday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the waves it unleashed, killing more than 22,000 people in the region.

Downer pledged A$10 million (US$7.7 million) for relief efforts. Aid agencies launched fund-raising campaigns.

Meanwhile, eight Americans are confirmed dead and hundreds are not yet accounted for after a devastating tsunami that killed more than 22,700 people across Asia, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Monday.

"At the moment we know of eight Americans who have died, and there are several hundred who are not accounted for yet," Powell told a news conference.

Three Canadians were also reported dead and 11 others missing in Thailand and Sri Lanka Monday, one day after being swept away by huge tidal waves, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Two Canadian tourists vacationing on the Thai resort island of Phuket were among the missing and 12 were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

About 500 Canadians were on the island when a massive earthquake off Indonesia unleashed gigantic waves across Asian coastlines, foreign ministry spokesman Reynald Doiron told reporters.

In Sri Lanka, one Canadian was killed, Doiron said.

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