Over 120 people missing as landslide hits China village

At least six people have been killed after the village of Xinmo was swallowed by the cascading debris from a collapsed mountain during heavy rains in southwest China's Sichuan Province, officials say.

Photo by: Reuters Archive
Photo by: Reuters Archive

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly at times of heavy rains.

At least six people were found dead and over 120 remained missing hours after a massive landslide buried a mountain village in southwest China on Saturday as rescuers scoured through rocks for survivors.

A couple and a baby were rescued and taken to hospital after 62 homes in Xinmo village were swallowed by boulders when the side of a mountain collapsed, according to the Maoxian, or Mao county, government.

The Maoxian government said on its Weibo social media account that six bodies were recovered while 112 people remained missing. State media had earlier revised the number of missing people down from 141 to over 120.

TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis reports.

The early morning landslide, which occurred following heavy rains in the region, blocked a two-kilometre (one-mile) stretch of river and 1.6 kilometre of road, according to state media.

A report from the state news agency Xinhua said that "part of a mountain" in the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba had collapsed.

Rescuers used ropes to move a massive rock while dozens of others, aided by dogs, searched the rubble for survivors, according to videos posted online by the Maoxian government and state broadcaster CCTV.

Bulldozers and heavy diggers were also deployed to remove boulders, the images showed. Medics were seen treating a woman on a road. Hundreds of police, military and firefighters were taking part in the rescue.

More rain in the horizon

China's national weather observatory said more heavy rain was expected in parts of Sichuan and other southwestern provinces.

Local police captain Chen Tiebo said the heavy rains that hit the region in recent days had triggered the landslide.

"There are several tonnes of rock" over the village, he told CCTV.

Frequent danger

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly at times of heavy rains. 

The area is prone to earthquakes, including one in 1933 that resulted in parts of Diexi town becoming submerged by a nearby lake, and an 8.0 magnitude tremor in central Sichuan's Wenchuan county in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people.

At least 12 people were killed in January when a landslide smashed into a hotel in central Hubei province.

In October landslides battered eastern China in the wake of torrential rains brought by Typhoon Megi, causing widespread damage and killing at least eight. 

TRTWorld and agencies