Rescuers picked away rubble from around a body in an area shaken by a powerful earthquake in mountainous southwestern China, then stood silently in a row, with helmets off and heads bowed to pay their respects.
Tuesday night’s magnitude 6.5 quake killed at least 13 people and injured 175, authorities said Wednesday. It also knocked out power and phone networks, complicating efforts to locate and evacuate survivors.
State broadcaster China Central Television showed footage of orange-suited rescuers finding the body and using detectors to search for survivors in the dark of night, carrying a girl to safety and leading other people along a rubble-strewn road.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for rapid efforts to respond to the disaster, which struck a quake-prone region bordered by Sichuan and Gansu provinces at around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday. The area is on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and home to many Tibetan and other ethnic minority villages. It’s also near Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations that attracts visitors from China and overseas.
Among the injured, 28 were listed in serious condition on Wednesday morning, according to the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture government in Sichuan. At least five of the dead were tourists, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. Hong Kong’s immigration department said one of the city’s residents was missing in the quake.
A Canadian woman suffered a slight head injury and a Frenchman was wounded in both legs and needed surgery to remove stone fragments, according to Xinhua. It said Frenchman Maxence Vallon, 18, was staying with his mother and brother at a hotel in Jiuzhaigou.
They were seeking shelter outside “when a big stone fell and hit my brother right in the leg,” said Romain Vallon, who studies in Beijing.
The dead included a performer in an arts group who was buried in the quake and found Wednesday morning. She and others had been performing in Jiuzhaigou when the quake struck. According to the Legal Evening News, they were acting out a scene about a deadly 2008 earthquake that struck nearby and killed nearly 90,000 people. When the quake hit, the performers ran off the stage in terror and the audience thought the tremor was part of the show.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 6.5, striking at a shallow depth of just 9 kilometers (5.5 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than…