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141 Feared Buried in China Landslide

Rescuers search for survivors after a landslide in a mountain village in southwest Sichuan Province, June 24.Rescuers search for survivors after a landslide in a mountain village in southwest Sichuan Province, June 24.

Chinese rescuers scoured through rocks on Saturday in a frantic search for more than 141 people feared buried after a landslide smashed through a mountain village in southwest Sichuan Province.

A couple and a baby were rescued and taken to hospital after more than 40 homes in the village of Xinmo were swallowed by huge boulders when the side of a mountain collapsed, according to the Maoxian county government, AFP reported.

At least 141 people and 46 homes were buried, the People’s Daily said, citing a Maoxian county government spokesman. The landslide blocked a 2-kilometer (one mile) stretch of river and 1.6 kilometer of road.

Rescuers used ropes to move a massive rock while dozens of others searched the rubble for survivors, according to videos posted by the Maoxian government on its Weibo social media account. Bulldozers and heavy diggers were also deployed to remove boulders, the images showed. Medics were seen treating a woman on a road.

Rescuers used ropes to move a massive rock while dozens of others searched the rubble for survivors, according to videos posted by the Maoxian government on its Weibo social media account.

Bulldozers and heavy diggers were also deployed to remove boulders, the images showed. Medics were seen treating a woman on a road.

Wang Yongbo, one of the local officials in charge of rescue efforts, said the vital signs of one of the survivors "are weak".

It's the biggest landslide in this area since the Wenchuan earthquake," he said, referring to the disaster that killed 87,000 people in 2008 in a town in Sichuan.

Local police captain, Chen Tiebo, said the heavy rains that hit the region in recent days had triggered the landslide.

"There are several tons of rock," he told the state broadcaster CCTV.

"It's a seismic area here. There's not a lot of vegetation," Chen said.

Trees can help absorb excess rain and prevent landslides.

Some 500 people were taking part in rescue efforts, according to CCTV.

An emergency response "to the first class catastrophic geological disaster" is underway, the local government's statement said, adding that the full extent of the landslide was as yet unclear.

A report from the state news agency Xinhua said the landslide came from a high part of a mountain in the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba had collapsed.

The landslide struck the village at around 06:00 a.m. local time (2200 GMT).

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