Hopes fade in China for 93 missing in landslide | Reuters

By Sue-Lin Wong

MAO COUNTY, China Rescue workers in southwestern China pulled bodies out of piles of rock and mud on Sunday as they searched for 93 people missing after a landslide buried a mountain village, with some residents giving up hope of finding survivors.

A huge landslide crashed down on the village of Xinmo, in mountainous Sichuan province, as dawn broke on Saturday.

Authorities at the scene said on Sunday that 10 bodies had been confirmed recovered, contradicting a report by the Xinhua state news agency on Saturday saying that 15 people had been confirmed killed.

On Sunday industrial excavators removed rubble at the site of the landslide while workers in hard hats searched for signs of life as relatives of the lost cried or looked on stone-faced nearby.

“This is useless,” villager Han Jianying, searching for missing family members, told Reuters. “Everyone’s going to be in pieces anyway.”

Heavy rain triggered the landslide, authorities said.

More light showers are likely but are not expected to affect the search, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.

A couple and their two-month-old baby were the only survivors reported to have been found alive. Authorities reduced the number of missing after 15 people were confirmed as safe, the Xinmo village propaganda department said on its microblog.

It was not clear if the 15 had been rescued or had simply been away at the time of the disaster.

The rescue involved more than 3,000 people despite the danger of more landslides, Xinhua reported.

Geological experts said the chances of anyone surviving under the rubble were slim, Xinhua reported.

“We weren’t able to pull anyone out alive,” said Wu Youheng, who lives in a neighboring village and rushed to help on Saturday.

“We pulled out two people but they were already dead. I think it’s too late, they’re unlikely to find anyone else alive.”

The area…

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