MAC: Mines and Communities

China: Landslide hits iron ore mine in Xinyuan

Published by MAC on 2012-08-06
Source: Xinhua News (2012-08-01)

18 workers killed, 10 presumed dead

In yet another "accident", which should surely have been forseen, eighteen Chinese workers have been buried alive by a mudslide in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Another ten are reported missing, presumed dead.

In January 2012, nine coal mineworkers went to their deaths, following a similar  tragic event in Yunnan province. See: Victims of Chinese mine disasters get compensation

Death toll from Xinjiang mudslide rises to 18

Xinhua News

1 August 2012

XINYUAN, Xinjiang -- The death toll from a mudslide that buried an iron ore mine in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday has climbed to 18.

Landslide hits iron ore mine in Xinyuan
Landslide hits iron ore mine in Xinyuan
Photo: China Daily Information Corp

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the bodies of 18 victims had been recovered at the mine located in the township of Araltobe, Xinyuan County in Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, while 10 others remained missing, a spokesman with the county government told a news conference.

The disaster, which occurred 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, buried 28 people living in a work shed at the mine. They were identified as mine workers. Most were from the provinces of Yunnan and Fujian, while some were local residents, the spokesman said.

The mudslide contained about 1 million cubic meters of debris, and was 2,000 meters long, 50 meters wide and six meters deep, he said.

The chances of survival for the missing people, probably still buried under the debris, were slim. They would have no oxygen to breathe, said Chen Chaobin, chief of staff of the prefecture's fire brigade.

But the rescue efforts would continue, Chen added.

More than 500 rescuers with over 100 machines and two sniffer dogs have been carrying out the search operations.

A survey conducted by the local land resources authorities found that the disaster was a result of downpours that pounded Xinyuan on Sunday.

Chen said 25 rescuers dispatched by the prefecture's fire brigade arrived at the site, over 60 km away from the county seat of Xinyuan, four hours after the brigade received an emergency call around 1 a.m.

"We have never before handled such a huge mudslide," Chen said.

A rescuer, Cheng Yongli, told Xinhua he found the bodies of a family of three around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

"The man hugged the woman with both arms, and the woman firmly held the son. Even death couldn't part them," Cheng said recalling the scene.

Chen Xiaojiao, an excavator operator, said he was very cautious when transporting victims' bodies with the machine. "I don't want them to be hurt again. That's a little respect to the deceased," he said.

The prefectural government is conducting checks on mountainous areas prone to geological disasters and is ready to evacuate herdsmen residing in such places.

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