Rescuers ordered to leave amid fears over second China landslide


The provincial government lowered an earlier figure of 15 bodies retrieved that had been reported by state media.

"We won't give up as long as there is a slim chance", the agency quoted an unidentified searcher as saying.

A smaller second landslide caused huge rocks to fall onto the village, which made it more hard for heavy machinery to get to the scene, police team leader Wang Yongbo told CCTV.

The massive landslide buried the entire village of Xinmo in a mountainous region of Sichuan province.

The local government told CNN 93 people were still unaccounted for and 15 people thought to have died had subsequently been found safe.

A family of three managed to escape the disaster after an infant in the home woke up crying half an hour before the landslide hit their house, the father, Qiao Dashuai, tells the news agency.

Experts quoted in Chinese state media said recent heavy rains, combined with structural damage to the mountain caused by the massive quake that hit the region in 2008, had caused the landslide.

The landslide buried 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) of road and blocked a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) section of a river.

Some 3,000 workers with life-detection equipment are taking part in the search for people still missing in the landslide. "The recent rainfall has triggered the landslide", Tian Yanshan said.

As of Sunday night, only three people - a couple and their month-old baby - had been rescued from the disaster site.

The Presidential Office on Sunday conveyed condolences to China over a deadly landslide in Sichuan Province and offered Taiwan's assistance, if necessary.

"Many of the villagers have been living here for generations and seen no major geological disasters", Xu said.

Zhang Liancheng, who lives in a nearby village, said the landslide buried eight members of his family. "The government knows it's unsafe to live in these kinds of villages and yet they do nothing", said the elderly man, who also would not provide his name.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his closeness and grief for the victims of a landslide that engulfed a village in Sichuan province in south-western China.

County residents are primarily poor farmers of the Qiang ethnic minority and the area is the target of a poverty alleviation project, according to government officials.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for "all-out efforts" to save those who were buried.

Wu said that the area was prone to landslides but the scale of Saturday's slide was unprecedented.