Swiss Tunnel Fire Leaves 128 Missing

AIROLO, Switzerland?Fighting temperatures above 1,800 degrees, rescuers beat back a fierce blaze Thursday inside the longest highway tunnel through the Alps. Eleven people were confirmed dead, and officials fear others lay incinerated in the inferno.

Some 128 people were reported missing by family and friends?up from 80 Thursday morning. Authorities said the higher number reflected duplication, with worried people phoning separate hotlines in different Swiss states.

“It is a scene of horror; a scene of total destruction; a scene of dreadful tragedy,” said Swiss President Moritz Leuenberger, who is also transport minister.

The blaze began Wednesday in the Gotthard Tunnel when a northbound truck lost control about one mile inside and crashed into an oncoming truck carrying tires which then caught fire and sent out poisonous fumes.