Hurricane Otis: 27 dead and four missing after 165mph winds hit Mexico

Hurricane Otis: 27 dead and four missing after 165mph winds hit Mexico

One of the most powerful storms to hit Mexico has claimed at least 27 lives and left four more missing as it unleashed on the beach resort of Acapulco.

Hurricane Otis flooded streets, ripped up roads, homes and hotels and cut communications in the city with nearly 900,000 residents on Wednesday.

In just 12 hours, Otis' strength more than doubled from 70 mph winds to 160 mph as it neared the coast.

Four people who remain missing are believed to be members of the navy, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a press conference in Mexico City

"What Acapulco suffered was really disastrous," he said, after heading to Acapulco on Wednesday by road, changing his vehicle more than once as the storm damage caused him hold-ups, according to pictures published on social media.

One showed him sitting in a military jeep stuck in mud.

Mexican president stuck in mud (AFP via Getty Images)
Mexican president stuck in mud (AFP via Getty Images)

The storm, which intensified unexpectedly off the Pacific coast, tore large trees up by the roots, flooded hospitals, and patients had to be evacuated to safer areas.

Acapulco is the biggest city in the southern state of Guerrero, one of the poorest in Mexico.

The local economy depends heavily on tourism, and Otis caused extensive damage to some of the most famous hotels on the city's shoreline.

The hurricane peeled off sections of buildings in downtown Acapulco, images showed, leaving debris strewn around main thoroughfares. Some Mexican media posted videos of looting in the city.

Operations at Acapulco's international airport remain suspended, officials said, citing structural damage.

Residents look at debris in the streets (Getty Images)
Residents look at debris in the streets (Getty Images)

Nearly 8,400 members of Mexico's army, air force and national guard were deployed in and near Acapulco to assist in cleanup efforts, the defense ministry said.

Classes were canceled for students across the state for a second day, and Governor Evelyn Salgado said on social media that authorities were working to restore electricity and reactivate drinking water pumps in Acapulco.

Mexican energy company Pemex said there was a secure supply of gasoline and diesel for the port of Acapulco and the entire state of Guerrero.

Mexico's state power utility CFE had over 1,300 employees working to restore power, it said on Wednesday evening, when some 300,000 people remained without electricity.

Telmex, the Mexican telecommunications firm controlled by the family of tycoon Carlos Slim, said it had restored its network in Acapulco by Thursday morning.

The city's airport was closed after Otis wrecked the control tower, cut telecommunications and left access roads blocked.