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Haiti school collapse claims 94

U.S., French and Haitian firefighters used sonar, cameras and dogs Monday in the search for victims at a collapsed Haitian school, but as the stench of death rose from the wreckage, they no longer expected to find anyone else alive.

Three days after the concrete building suddenly collapsed during a children's party, killing at least 94 students and adults and severely injuring 150 more, Capt. Michael Istvan of Fairfax County, Va., said the chance of more survivors was remote.

He also said the death toll won't likely go much higher.

Several bodies were pulled out Monday, caked in concrete dust, and radar and cameras located several more.

But there have been no indications of survivors since four children were pulled from the wreckage Saturday morning, said Daniel Vigee, head of a Martinique-based French rescue team.

Rescuers were probing spots where neighbors claimed to have heard voices or received cell phone calls from trapped survivors, without success. Finally, before dawn Monday, they opened up new areas to search by tearing down a two-story-high concrete slab that had been hanging precariously since the collapse.

Istvan's firefighters were flown in by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and an eight-person military team from the U.S. Southern Command also helped.

They had warned that removing the wall could be too dangerous to rescuers and any potential survivors, but as hopes dimmed, Haitians removed it anyway using hand-held power tools.

It was unclear how many people were in the building when it collapsed, though the school is believed to have had about 500 students. Haitian officials said some had time to escape when it began to fall, and it was not known how many were pulled out unharmed on Friday.

Some students weren't at the school during the collapse because La Promesse was holding a party requiring a donation of about 63 cents that poorer families could not afford, said Deputy Steven Benoit, who represents the area in the Chamber of Deputies.

More than 1.8 million of Haiti's 9 million people, according to one lawmaker's estimate, live in ramshackle, mountainside slums with squalid homes, shabby churches and poorly constructed schools like the one that tumbled down Friday.

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