China landslide: More than 90 missing as search continues

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionFifteen bodies have so far been recovered but 118 people remain unaccounted for

More than 90 people remain missing after a huge landslide buried homes in a village in Sichuan province, south-western China.

Thousands of rescuers were deployed after some 40 homes were destroyed in Maoxian county, in what one local man said had been an "unprecedented" event.

At least 10 bodies have been recovered, but rescuers say they do not expect to find anyone else alive.

A couple and a baby were rescued and taken to hospital on Saturday.

Qiao Dashuai told state broadcaster CCTV that his baby had woken him and his partner in the early hours, adding that when the couple opened the door of their home they were swept away by water.

He said his parents and other relatives were still missing.

'Spare no effort'

Heavy rain is thought to have triggered the landslide, causing the top section of a mountain to loosen, sending boulders and rocks crashing down onto Xinmo village below at about 06:00 local time on Saturday (22:00 GMT on Friday).

media captionThe rescue team has been searching for missing people

Wu Youheng, from a neighbouring village, said the area was prone to landslides but that the scale of the disaster was unprecedented, Reuters news agency reports.

Emergency workers and more than 3,000 volunteers dug through earth and rocks throughout Sunday, with rescue dogs scouring the debris.

State media had earlier reported that 15 bodies had been recovered, but officials at the scene said on Sunday that there were only 10 confirmed deaths.

Some people earlier reported as missing had also been found alive away from the site, the officials said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping later urged the emergency services to "spare no effort".

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image captionRescuers and local residents use rope to move large boulders at the site of the deadly landslide
image copyrightReuters
image captionMaoxian county has suffered a deadly landslide before

The landslide blocked a 2km (1.2-mile) stretch of a river, China's Xinhua state news agency said. Local police said a lack of vegetation had made the landslide worse.

Local officials said some 8m cubic metres (282m cubic ft) of rock had been dislodged and roads had been closed to all traffic except emergency services.

Landslides are a regular danger in mountainous regions of China, especially during heavy rains.

In 2008, 87,000 people were killed when an earthquake struck Wenchuan county in Sichuan province. In Maoxian county itself, 37 tourists were killed when their coach was buried in a landslide caused by the 2008 earthquake.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionRelief workers have been carrying emergency supplies to the area

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