China quake: Soldier dies as relief vehicle falls off cliff

Beijing, April 20 (IANS) A military vehicle carrying 17 soldiers to China’s quake-hit Sichuan province plummeted off a cliff Saturday, killing one soldier, military officials said.

At least 71 people were killed and more than 1,000 others injured Saturday when a massive earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Sichuan, Xinhua reported.

The driver of the military vehicle lost control on a winding road in Ya’an around 12.40 p.m..

Witnesses said the driver may have been trying to evade something before hitting the road edge and losing control.

The vehicle fell into a river about 20 metres below the road.

One soldier died, while seven others were injured and have been taken to hospital.

The remaining soldiers are safe and unhurt, according to the Chengdu Military Area Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The vehicle and soldiers belong to the PLA Army’s 13th Combined Corps.

After the earthquake, more than 6,000 military rescue personnel were rushed to the area.

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