More than 140 villagers feared buried in massive Chinese landslide

(USA TODAY) -- More than 140 villagers were feared buried Saturday in a massive landslide triggered by heavy rain in Sichuan Province in southwestern China, according to local officials and the Chinese media.

China Daily reports that five people have been found dead and more than 140 are missing after huge boulders and a mass of earth buried 62 homes in the village of Xinmo in Mao County.

The paper said a family of three, including a month-old baby, managed to escape just as the landslide hit their house.

The landslide struck around  6 a.m., according to local officials.

Wang Yongbo, a local rescue official, told state broadcaster CCTV that some 105 million cubic feet of earth and rock — equivalent to more than 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — had slid down the mountain, the Associated Press reports.

The mass of earth and rocks covered almost a mile of road and blocked over a mile section of a river.

More than 1,000 firefighters, medical staff and armed police officers were rushed to the scene, but meteorologists said the rescue effort could be hampered by the prospect of three more days of rain.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday ordered all-out rescue efforts for anyone trapped in the rubble, the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported.
 

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