Rescuers scouring through hundreds of tonnes of rubble today pulled out at least 10 bodies with 93 others still missing and chances of their survival bleak, a day after a massive landslide buried a mountain village in China's southwest Sichuan province.
The rescue headquarters said that 15 people, earlier unaccounted for, have been taken off the list of missing people after the yesterday's landslide.
Xu Zhiwen, deputy chief of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, said 10 people have been confirmed dead and 93 others missing, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
State Councillor Wang Yong, who is leading work at the site, demanded all-out efforts to find the missing, treat the injured and minimise casualties. Earlier, 15 bodies were retrieved by hundreds of rescuers trying to find survivors after the landslide engulfed the village.
Earlier, reports said that 15 people were killed but the death toll has been reduced to 10.
The landslide buried more than 120 people from 62 homes, the news agency reported late last night. Geological experts at the site said the chance of survival was slim. The search and rescue operation was underway overnight.
Rescuers were combing the area with life detectors and sniffer dogs but no new signs of life have been found.
"We won't give up as long as there is a slim chance," said one rescuer.
Xu Zhiwen, executive deputy governor of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, said the identities of missing will be soon made public on the government's website.
Xu also cleared up worries that some tourists might be among the buried as the village is in a tourist site. All 142 tourists who entered the site on Friday have reached to safety, said Xu.
The landslide from a high part of a mountain in Aba prefecture hit Xinmo village in Maoxian county at about 6 AM yesterday, blocking a two-km section of river and buried 1,600 meters of road.
The provincial government has launched the highest level of disaster relief response and sent rescue teams to the site.
Currently, more than 3,000 workers with life-detection instruments are engaged in the search for survivors. The provincial department of land and resources said the landslide was caused by heavy rain. An estimated 18 million cubic meters of earth mass fell some 1,600 meters, engulfing half of Xinmo village.
Three persons from a family were rescued five hours after the landslide struck. They were taken to Maoxian County People's Hospital and none suffered life-threatening injuries. A three-year-old child of the family was buried.
Qiao Dashuai, 26, recalled that he and his wife woke up to cries of their one-month-old son at about 5:30 AM. "Just after we changed the diaper for the baby, we heard a big bang outside and the light went out. We felt that something bad was happening and immediately rushed to the door, but the door was blocked by mud and rocks," said Qiao.
The couple suffered bruises and their one-month-old son was being treated for pneumonia as he inhaled muddy water.
"I arrived at the site at 7:30 AM and found that the whole area was buried by the landslide," said He Dajun, a worker with Maoxian County Power Company.
Another 110 people living nearby in another part of the village were being evacuated to a township school last night, fearing there might be rain and secondary disasters.
The village was relocated to the current site in 1976 as their previous location was prone to landslides and since then, villagers have been living in two groups in nearby location.