Lhasa: As many as 36 bodies have been recovered after a massive landslide buried at least 83 people in the Tibet region. As large rocks slid from a mountain and the huge sound was heard across the valley, villagers said it was a “terrible scene”.
The landslide struck a workers’ camp of the Jiama copper polymetallic mine Friday, burying 83 workers and 11 pieces of machinery.
By Monday afternoon, more than 4,500 rescuers and 200 machines were working at the site to find the buried miners, Xinhua quoted a rescue official as saying.
The landslide occurred in Maizhokunggar county, about 68 km from the capital Lhasa.
Around two million cubic metres of rock and earth was set loose by the landslide, with the debris taking up a length of more than three km and a depth ranging from 20 metres to 50 meters, an official said.
In two locations, rescuers found tents, clothes and kitchen knives.
The majority of the victims were from geological institutes or mining companies from northwestern Gansu province, southwestern Guizhou province and Lhasa.
The mining company is a subsidiary of China National Gold Group Corporation, the country’s largest gold producer.
“Large swathes of rocks suddenly fell down from the mountaintop and the huge sound could be heard in the whole valley. It was a terrible scene,” a villager said.
Zhao Linjiang is the camp’s only survivor.
He went down the mountain to buy tents, and was shocked to find when he returned that the camp had totally gone, burying his younger brother and other miners.
“I was numbed by the scene, and trudged back and forth, crying all along,” he said.
“It’s so cosy here, but my brother is so cold up there on the mountain,” he said, wiping tears off his face.
He said he must wait to see his brother, or even his body, and won’t return to the place any more.
Despite suffering from altitude sickness, soldiers and policemen have been racing against time to sift through the debris in the hope of finding buried miners.
“I have barely had any sleep since I came here,” policeman Lu Wenkai said.