March 4, 2010 / 12:04 AM / 10 years ago

Chile sharply lowers quake death toll to 279

An earthquake survivor covers her nose against the smell of the rotting bodies still inside many buildings destroyed a major earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Talcahuano March 3, 2010. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s government on Thursday sharply cut the official death toll from a massive weekend earthquake and ensuing tsunamis to 279 identified bodies, from a previously reported 802 victims, without giving an explanation.

A government source told Reuters the previously reported figure had included lists of people still missing from various local authorities.

Reporting by Santiago Newsroom; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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