Scores missing in massive China landslide; 10 bodies found

Scores missing in massive China landslide; 10 bodies found”

"It's just bad. They had no idea what was coming", Yang, a woman in her 40s, told AFP. She said she had only heard reports that body parts were found.

The landslide carried the equivalent of more than 7,200 Olympic-size swimming pools of earth and rock. Some of it fell from as high as 1.6km. The avalanche crushed 62 homes, according to authorities.

There were 142 tourists in the village around the time the landslide hit, and all were alive, said Xu Zhiwen, executive deputy governor of Aba prefecture.

Three members of one family were located five hours after the landslide. "My wife and I climbed over, took the baby and got out", he told state broadcaster CCTV from his hospital bed.

In the only story of survival, Qiao Dashi, whose wife and baby also escaped, said he had woken up after 5:00 am to change his crying son's diaper when the house shook.

Qiao told CCTV his family was swept away by water as part of a mountain collapsed.

They said each team of rescuers had been paired with two locals who were familiar with the region, to help make the search under the debris as efficient as possible. His parents and other relatives were among the missing.

AFP reporters were not allowed to enter the disaster area.

Wang Yongbo, one of the local officials in charge of rescue efforts, described it as the biggest landslide in the region since the Wenchuan natural disaster in 2008 - an 8.0 magnitude tremor that killed almost 70,000 people.

County residents are primarily poor farmers of the Qiang ethnic minority and the area is the target of a poverty alleviation project, government officials said. In 1933, 6,800 people died in landslides triggered by an natural disaster and 2,500 more were killed when one of the landslides caused a dam to fail.

Industrial excavators today removed rubble at the site of the landslide while workers in hard hats searched for signs of life as relatives of the lost cried or looked on stone-faced nearby.

Those earlier reported missing range from an 80-year-old man to a girl aged just two and a half, according to a list released by Aba Prefecture's government, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"Some geologists have questioned whether the quake may have caused the slope to become unstable", she said.

Thousands of workers are working around the clock in the search and rescue effort.

Sichuan province is prone to earthquakes, including an 8.0 magnitude tremor in central Sichuan's Wenchuan county in 2008 that killed almost 70,000 people. Rescuers with sniffer dogs stand near an earthmoving equipment digging at the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, Sunday, June 25, 2017.

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