15 Dead, 110 May Be Buried After Landslide In Southwest China : The Two-Way : NPR Top News

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15 Dead, 110 May Be Buried After Landslide In Southwest China : The Two-Way : NPR Top News

Chinese military police and rescue workers at the site of a landslide in in Xinmo village, Sichuan province on Saturday.

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Chinese military police and rescue workers at the site of a landslide in in Xinmo village, Sichuan province on Saturday.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Updated 10:10 p.m. EST

More than 110 people remain missing after rescuers found 15 bodies among the debris of a landslide in the town of Xinmo in southwest China Saturday.

Local officials initially estimated 141 people and 46 homes were buried under tons of rubble.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports 15 people are confirmed dead, as the now 3,000-strong rescue team, armed with “life-detection instruments and sniffer dogs,” continue to search overnight.

“We won’t give up as long as there is a slim of chance,” said an unidentified rescuer, according to the news agency.

Rescuers pulled out three people earlier Saturday, two of whom survived, the official Sichuan Daily newspaper said on its microblog.

A family of three managed to escape the disaster after an infant in the home woke up crying half an hour before the landslide hit their house, the husband, Qiao Dashuai, tells the news agency.

Xinhua quoted the government of Sichuan province, where the town is located, as saying the identities of the 118 missing will be soon made public.

All 142 tourists visiting the site are alive, says Xu Zhiwen, executive deputy governor of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, where the landslide struck.

The landslide fell from “a high part of a mountain” nearby, Xinhua reports.

“There are several tons of rock,” police captain Chen Tiebo told the state television network CCTV, according to the BBC. “It’s a seismic area here,” he said.

“Initial accounts from villagers nearby said there had been rain in the area, but some said it was not very heavy and there was no sign of an impending landslide,” NPR’s Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

More children than usual may be in the town because China’s schools are on vacation, Schmitz adds.

The landslide fell around 6 a.m. local time Saturday, Xinhua says, and also blocked a section of a nearby river and buried about a mile of a road.

The town remains without power, the agency adds, and the regional government has approved about $730,000-worth of rescue funding.

A massive earthquake hit the Sichuan province in 2008, which left about 90,000 dead or missing, and the BBC notes it also caused a landslide that killed 37 tourists.

15 Dead, 110 May Be Buried After Landslide In Southwest China : The Two-Way : NPR Top News

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15 Dead, 110 May Be Buried After Landslide In Southwest China : The Two-Way : NPR Top News

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