Rescue team mourns victims of Shenzhen landslide

Rescue team, officials mourned people who died after Shenzhen Landslide in China

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Rescue team in south China's Guangdong province, Dec. 22, 2015

Rescue teams and Chinese officials mourned Saturday those who were buried by a landslide of mud and construction waste that hit an industrial park last weekend.

Those commemorating the seven who were found dead – while 75 others remain missing -- scattered white flowers across the rubble at Shenzhen city, where 33 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Workers honked the horns of excavators and vehicles in remembrance of the victims, state news agency Xinhua reported. 

The mourning ritual was held according to Chinese traditional beliefs that souls return home on the seventh day after a death.

A rescuer was quoted as saying, "I hope the dead can rest in peace. I also hope this brings some comfort to the families of the missing."

At a meeting after the ritual, the chief of the State Administration of Work Safety vowed to conduct a comprehensive investigation of last Saturday’s incident and ensure those responsible were penalised.

Search operations are ongoing, but only one survivor – a migrant worker – has been rescued at the site, where 380,000 square metres (454,500 square yards) were covered in construction waste.

An investigative team of the State Council confirmed Friday that the tragedy was a work safety mishap and not caused by any natural geological disaster.

"The investigation will start immediately. Those responsible for the incident will be seriously punished in accordance with laws and regulations," it said in the statement.

The Communist Party of China’s secretary for Shenzhen and other local officials have issued a televised public apology on behalf of the industrial city’s government and Party committee.

Meanwhile, the chief of Shenzhen’s Housing and Urban-Rural Development Bureau said that experts have been dispatched to three sites at the Hengtaiyu industrial park that still face "some risk" of landslides.

"There are also dangerous chemical items that need to be identified and treated," Xinhua quoted Yang Shengjun as saying.