The police and rescue workers arrived at the village and began searching buried ruins for survivors. There were reports that at least a few people had survived. State media outlets said a couple and their baby had been rescued. Still, many people appeared to be trapped in their homes.
Some residents stuck under the mud and rock used cellphones to call emergency lines, according to local news reports. One woman cried out from under the earth, Wang Yongbo, a firefighter, told Chinese television news.
“A woman shouted and dozens of troopers heard her and asked her questions,” Mr. Wang said. She “could only use a stone to tap in response,” he said.
Initial accounts from villagers and nearby residents said there had been rain in the area, but some said it was not very heavy and there were no signs of the impending landslide. The area was badly hit by an earthquake in 2008 that killed tens of thousands of people in Sichuan and nearby provinces.
“It came too suddenly,” the employee of a nearby hotel told The Paper, a Shanghai news site, of the landslide. “I didn’t sense any signs before it happened.”
Photographs from the scene indicated that a thinly vegetated side of a hill had toppled into a narrow valley, creating a wall of muddy earth and stones that covered a road and choked off a small river. Mao County, which includes Xinmo, announced a state of emergency and said rescuers were heading to the village.
By midmorning Saturday, about 500 rescuers and medical workers were converging on the area, one news report said. But officials said they were unsure how many people might have been buried by the landslide. China’s schools are on vacation, so there may have been more children in the village than usual, and the…