Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Sunday, 12 July 2009 21:47 UK

China flash flood kills 14 hikers

Rescuers in Chongqing, July 12
Hundreds of rescuers are searching for five missing hikers

Fourteen Chinese hikers have been killed after heavy rain and flash flooding hit a scenic gorge near the south-western city of Chongqing.

The holidaymakers had entered a forbidden area with a local guide, state news agency Xinhua said.

Sixteen of their companions were rescued, but five are still missing.

Around 400 emergency workers have been called in for the rescue effort. The flooding also affected parts of the city of Chongqing.

Streets and houses in the city were flooded and locals tried to stop the waters by building temporary flood barriers, footage from the area showed.

A sudden rainstorm on Saturday afternoon triggered a wall of water several metres high, which swept the group down several kilometres of the Tanzhangxia Gorge.

"I heard a roaring sound while walking at the bottom of the gorge," Deng Ke, one of the survivors, told Xinhua.

"Suddenly the flood, up to several metres high, crushed upon us and swept us several kilometres away."

Deng Ke said he survived by grabbing onto a bamboo shoot and scrambling up the mountain to safety.

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