Five dead, over 140 buried in China landslide

CHENGDU – More than 140 people are missing after a landslide swept a whole village in south-west China, state media reported on Saturday.

The landslide from a nearby mountain engulfed more than 40 homes and a hotel in Xinmo, a village in Sichuan province, at about 6am local time (2300 BST), the Mao county government said.

Pictures posted by the Chinese newspaper show bulldozers moving earth and large boulders as the rescue effort continues.

Provincial officials said 141 people were missing and 1.6 kilometres (a mile) of road had been buried.

Mao county is home to about 110,000 people. Xinmo is known locally for tourism, but it is unclear whether any visitors might have been caught up in the landslide.

It also blocked a 2km section of a river. Wang Yongbo, a local rescue official, told the state broadcaster CCTV an estimated 3m cubic metres (105m cubic feet) of earth and rock had fallen.

Local police told the state broadcaster the landslide had been triggered by recent heavy rains in the region and that the situation was made worse by a lack of vegetation in the area.

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