24 Jun 2017

China: at least 140 missing after mountainside collapses

6:43 pm on 24 June 2017

More than 140 people are feared buried in a landslide in Sichuan province in south-western China, state media say.

Rescuers working at the accident site.

Rescuers working at the accident site. Photo: AFP

About 40 homes were destroyed in Xinmo village, Maoxian county, after the side of a mountain collapsed.

Rescue teams are frantically searching for survivors trapped beneath rocks.

Pictures posted by the People's Daily newspaper show bulldozers moving earth and large boulders as the rescue effort continues.

President Xi Jinping urged on the rescue effort but so far only a couple and a baby have been rescued.

They have been taken to hospital after teams of workers used ropes to move large rocks while dozens of others searched the rubble, AFP news agency reports, citing local authorities.

The landslide blocked a 2km stretch of a river, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local officials.

Local police told state broadcaster CCTV the landslide had been triggered by recent heavy rains in the region, and that the situation was made worse by a lack of vegetation in the area.

Landslides are a regular danger in mountainous regions of China, especially during heavy rains.

In 2008, 87,000 people were killed when a magnitude-8 earthquake struck Wenchuan county in Sichuan province.

- BBC / Reuters

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