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Crews still searching for 17 people after Virginia flooding


GRUNDY, Va. (AP) — Authorities in a remote corner of southwest Virginia have located more than half of the 44 people who were reported unaccounted for after devastating flooding washed out roadways and damaged more than 100 homes.

Buchanan County Sheriff John McClanahan said Thursday that crews from state and local agencies worked throughout the night to locate and reunite residents with their loved ones. Authorities have made contact with 27 people, leaving 17 people unaccounted for, McClanahan said in a statement. He said there are no reports of injuries or deaths.

First responders in Buchanan County began receiving reports of rising water and damage Tuesday night. Several small communities in the Virginia county that borders West Virginia and Kentucky were affected.

County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Eric Breeding said Wednesday that the number of people unaccounted for is based on relatives trying to contact a resident in an area where there may be limited or no phone service.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in trouble or in danger. They’re just letting us know that we need to check on these people,” Breeding told reporters.

McClanahan said Thursday that the floodwaters are receding and the county is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation crews to assess damages to homes and to remove debris and mud from the roadways to get them re-opened.