Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 15:18 UK

China landslide 'buries dozens'


A landslide in south-western China has buried nearly 60 people, state media have reported.

Three survivors have been pulled out from under the rocks and two dead bodies found, Xinhua news agency said.

Fifty mine workers and nine residents were initially thought buried by the landslide, in an iron-ore mining area of the Chongqing region.

China's mining industry has a poor safety record, with thousands of deaths reported every year.

The landslide happened in a mountainous area of Wulong county at around 1500 (0700 GMT), Xinhua said.

The news agency said millions of cubic metres of rock flooded a valley, burying an iron ore plant and six houses in Tiekuang township, and cutting power and communication lines.

An official for the Chongqing government said rescue workers, doctors and digging equipment had arrived on the scene.

Feb 1950: Yiluo mine, Henan province - 174 dead
May 1960: Laobaidong mine, Shanxi province - 684 dead
Sept 2000: Muchonggou mine, Guizhou province - 162 dead
Nov 2004: Chenjiashan mine, Shaanxi province - 166 dead
Feb 2005: Sunjiawan mine, Liaoning province - 210 dead
Nov 2005: Dongfeng mine, Heilongjiang - 171 dead
Aug 2007: Xintai City, Shandong province - 181 dead
Dec 2007: Rui Zhiyuan mine, Shanxi province - 105 dead
Sept 2008: Tashan mine, Shanxi province - 254 dead

The three injured survivors were taken to hospital in a serious condition, Xinhua said.

It is not clear what caused the accident, but an official with the Chongqing work safety supervision bureau told Associated Press news agency that the landslide did not appear to have been caused by the work at the mine.

Officials sacked

Accidents in China's mines are common, due to poor safety standards, illegal mining and the rush to feed the demand from one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

Chinese authorities said earlier this year that the number of both mining deaths and accidents fell in 2008.

Xinhua said there were more than 400,000 accidents last year. One of these was a landslide in Shanxi that killed 254 people when a dam holding back waste from an illegal mine collapsed, flooding a community.

Thirty-four officials were dismissed over the incident.

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