Emergency personnel and earthmoving equipment work at the site of a massive landslide in Xinmo village in Maoxian County in southwestern China's Sichuan Province, Saturday, June 24, 2017. Dozens of people are feared buried by a landslide that unleashed huge rocks and a mass of earth that crashed into their homes in southwestern China early Saturday, a county government said. (Chinatopix via AP)

Over 100 people feared buried by southwest China landslide

June 24, 2017 - 2:03 am

BEIJING (AP) — More than 100 people are feared buried by a landslide that unleashed huge rocks and a mass of earth that crashed into their homes in southwestern China early Saturday, a county government said.

The landslide from a mountain engulfed a cluster of more than 40 homes and a hotel in the village of Xinmo at about 6 a.m., the government of Mao County in Sichuan province said. Provincial officials said at noon that 141 people were missing and 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) of road had been buried.

Rescuers pulled out three people, two of whom had survived, the official Sichuan Daily newspaper said on its microblog. The paper also said a family of three, including a month-old baby, managed to escape just as the landslide had started to hit their house.

The landslide blocked a 2 kilometer (1.24 mile)-section of a river. Wang Yongbo, a local rescue official, told state broadcaster CCTV that an estimated 3 million cubic meters (105 million cubic feet) of earth and rock — equivalent to more than 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — had slid down the mountain.

Photos showed an area buried by earth and massive rocks. Emergency responders helped a woman by the road.

Search and rescue efforts were underway involving more than 400 workers, including police. CCTV showed footage of rescuers using a couple of earth movers but also relying on ropes to pull at huge rocks.

A meteorologist interviewed by CCTV said there had been light rains in the area that would continue for a few days.

Mao County, or Maoxian, is home to about 110,000 people, according to the government's website. Most residents are of the Qiang ethnic minority.

The village is known locally for tourism and Chinese reports said it was unclear if tourists were among the people buried by the landslide.

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