BEIJING — Around 100 people are feared buried by a landslide that unleashed huge rocks and a mass of earth that crashed into their homes in southwestern China early Saturday, a county government said.
The landslide from a mountain engulfed a cluster of more than 40 homes and a hotel in the village of Xinmo at about 6 a.m., the government of Mao County in Sichuan province said.
The landslide also blocked a 2 kilometer (1.24 mile)-section of a river. Wang Yongbo, a local rescue official, told state broadcaster CCTV that an estimated 3 million cubic meters (105 million cubic feet) of earth and rock — equivalent to more than 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — had slid down the mountain.
Photos posted on the site showed an area buried by earth and massive rocks. Emergency responders helped a woman by the road.
Search and rescue efforts were underway involving more than 400 rescuers, including police. CCTV showed footage of rescuers using a couple of earth movers but also relying on ropes to pull at huge rocks.
A meteorologist interviewed by CCTV said there had been light rains in the area that would continue for a few days.
Mao County, or Maoxian, is home to about 110,000 people, according to the government’s website. Most residents are of the Qiang ethnic minority.
The village is known locally for tourism and Chinese reports said it was unclear if tourists were among the people buried by the landslide.