Death toll in China landslide reaches 22, 17 still missing

Days of heavy rain caused a landslide at a hydropower plant in China's Fujian Province.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Rescuers search for survivors in the wreckage of a shelter after it was hit by a landslide in Taining County, in China's eastern Fujian province on May 8, 2016.

Updated May 9, 2016

Rescue teams on Monday recovered 22 bodies while 17 people are still missing following a landslide at a hydropower plant in southern China after days of heavy rain.

More than 600 rescuers including firefighters and police are searching for signs of life as they continue digging through stones and rocks from a mountain of displaced rubble.

The landslide destroyed an office building and the construction workers' living area early on Sunday.

Survivor Deng Chunwu said, "We were asleep when the mountains began to jolt very strongly and before we knew it, sand and mud were flowing into our room."

He and three other workers survived by huddling underneath a supporting pole.

Local media reported that many of the injured were being treated in hospital for bone fractures and other injures.

Rescuers are also attempting to clear sections of roads leading to the site that are impassable and is hindering efforts to get heavy machinery through.

The plant, based in the mountainous Taining county in Fujian province is an extension of the Chitan hydropower station, an affiliate of state-owned Huadian Fuxin Energy Ltd.

It was expected to begin operations in August 2017.

Rescuers use detectors to scan for potential survivors at the site following a landslide in Taining county in southeast China's Fujian province, Sunday, May 8, 2016.

An official at the county department said that the cause of the landslide was still unclear, but the area had seen rainfall over the past few days.

Heavy rain has affected much of southern China since Wednesday, triggering floods and landslides, disrupting transport, and destroying crops.

TRTWorld, AP