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Hope fades for missing miners: rescuers

By Global Times – Xinhua Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-31 23:23:01

Rescuers attempt to recover the body of a victim buried in debris on Saturday after a landslide struck a workers' camp at a mine in the Tibet Autonomous Region Friday. Photo: IC
Rescuers attempt to recover the body of a victim buried in debris on Saturday after a landslide struck a workers' camp at a mine in the Tibet Autonomous Region Friday. Photo: IC

 

The bodies of 11 miners were discovered Sunday as rescuers said chances are slim that dozens of other workers will be found alive after a landslide, which has so far left 13 workers confirmed dead, ripped through their work camp in the Tibet Autonomous Region on Friday, rescuers said.

Eighty-three workers and 11 pieces of machinery were buried, when a large swath of a mountain slope slid into the camp at the Jiama Copper Polymetallic Mine in Maizhokunggar county, about 68 kilometers from regional capital Lhasa.

The mine is owned by the Tibet Huatailong Mining Development Company, a subsidiary of China National Gold Group Corporation, the country's largest gold producer.

Rescuers have retrieved workers' tents, clothes and kitchen utensils, leading them to believe many more miners may have been buried. The landslide site is 3-kilometers-wide and 30-meters-deep on average. An estimated 2 million cubic meters of mud, rock and other debris flowed down the mountain.

Rescuers have already combed through more than 1.05 million cubic meters of debris looking for survivors.

Two bodies initially discovered on Saturday have yet to be retrieved as rescuers are having trouble making their way in and out of the debris field. The mine's 4,600-meter altitude and snowy weather are also hampering rescue efforts and rescuers said there is little chance of finding survivors.

Some 3,500 rescuers, 300 pieces of heavy machinery, 10 sniffer dogs and 20 life detectors have been mobilized, said rescue headquarters, adding that more excavators were on their way to the site on Sunday.

"There are cracks on the mountain slope and secondary landslide are possible," said Jiang Yi, a police officer who joined the rescue effort.

The majority of the victims were from Gansu Province, Guizhou Province and Lhasa. Relatives of the miners are on their way to Lhasa.

A special team of experts has been sent to monitor the stability of the mountain and three retraining walls have been built to prevent another landslide.

A number of rescuers are suffering from altitude sickness and additional medical staff is being called in to help. "We have treated rescuers who have suffered altitude sickness or a fever," said Li Suzhi, president of the General Hospital of Tibetan Military Command.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Friday ordered exhaustive rescue efforts.

"We will carry out an in-depth investigation into the exact cause of the landslide," promised Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, who arrived at the site Saturday.

Experts with the Ministry of Land and Resources and the regional government have started their investigation into the cause of the accident and they say the results will be made public.

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