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Rescuers races to save landslide victims

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-26 06:07

Rescuers work at the accident site after a landslide occurred in Xinmo village of Maoxian county, Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture of Aba, southwest China's Sichuan province, June 24, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

CHENGDU - Over 3,000 rescuers are searching for at least 118 people trapped under rocks and mud by a landslide in Southwest China's Sichuan province.

The landslide engulfed 62 homes in Xinmo village in Maoxian County Saturday morning, blocking a 2-km section of river and burying 1,600 meters of road.

About eight million cubic meters of hillside descended on the village.

A 36-day-old baby boy's crying awoke his parents and led to their escape from the disaster. The baby and his parents were taken to the West China Second University Hospital in Chengdu, about 200 kilometers from the scene.

Qiao Dashuai said he and his wife woke up from their son's cries at about 5:30 a.m.

"Just after we changed his diaper, we heard a big bang outside and the lights went out," said Qiao.

"We felt that something bad was happening and immediately rushed to the door, which was blocked by mud and rocks," he said. They were dug out by rescuers around 6:50 a.m. and taken to hospital. The husband and wife suffered bruises. The baby, who inhaled muddy water, is treated for pneumonia.

Qiao's parents and his three-year-old daughter remain unaccounted for.

On Sunday, the names of 118 people who are missing were published on the website of Aba Tibet and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. The government asked the public to provide any information which may lead to their rescue.

Rescuers used excavators, sniffer dogs and life-detection equipment to dig through debris as the search continued.

Maoxian county is located on the Minjiang River, a major tributary of the Yangtze. The area is prone to earthquakes: A 7.5-magnitude earthquake in 1933 destroyed many villages.

In 1976, two strong earthquakes struck places about 100 km from the current disaster. The town is about 150 km from the epicenter of the 2008 earthquake, which left over 80,000 people dead or missing.

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