Ike's US toll hits 51; search team leaves island

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) -- The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ike has climbed past 50 but appears to have leveled off in Texas.

Search teams have pulled out of Galveston after having scoured the entire island for survivors.

While rescue crews are leaving, the roads leading back into coastal communities are clogged with nearly 20 miles of traffic despite orders to stay out. Transportation officials say emergency crews and trucks hauling resources badly needed on the island are among the vehicles stuck in the jam.

Much of the confusion stems from a decision yesterday to allow people onto the island to take a look at their property and head back out. That decision has been suspended.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is in Texas to check on recovery efforts.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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