The Sichuan provincial government said huge rocks which came from a mountain engulfed 62 homes and a hotel during the early morning hours of Saturday, June 24, 2017. Late afternoon, officials confirmed 15 deaths and said more than 120 are still believed to be buried under debris. At least two small-scale landslides with boulders tumbling down have occurred in the area after the main one.
The landslide, triggered by heavy rains and amplified by a lack of vegetation, hit the village of Xinmo in Mao County at about 06:00 local time on June 24 (22:00 UTC on June 23). More than 1 000 people are searching for survivors but officials say chances of survival are slim. Only 6 people were found and rescued by 18:00 local time.
Officials said 1.6 km (1 mile) of road is buried under rocks and mud, adding that it also blocked a 2-km (1.2-mile) section of a river. The provincial government estimated that 8 million m3 (282 million feet3) of rocks and earth slid down the mountain.
"It's the biggest landslide to hit this area since the Wenchuan earthquake," the Associated Press quoted Wang Yongbo, an official leading one of the rescue efforts. Wang was referring to China's deadliest earthquake this century, a magnitude 7.9 temblor that struck Sichuan province in May 2008, killing nearly 90 000 people, AP said.
At least two small-scale landslides with boulders tumbling down have occurred in the area after the main one.
The police have closed roads in the county to all traffic except emergency services.
Featured image: Massive landslide hits China's Sichuan on June 24, 2017 (local time). Credit: AP