Eight dead, dozens missing after landslide in China

Rescuers search for survivors of the landslide.
Rescuers search for survivors of the landslide. Photo credit: Getty Images

Rescuers have recovered the bodies of eight people as the race to reach dozens more buried in a landslide in southwestern China on Monday continues, according to state media.

"Rescue team found eight missing people, all of whom have no sign of life," state media outlet CCTV reported. A total of 47 people were unaccounted for following the landslide, according to CCTV, leaving 39 still to be found.

The landslide hit the mountain village of Liangshui in Yunnan province shortly before dawn, when most residents were asleep. A total of 18 homes were buried, and more than 500 people evacuated, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Drone footage of the disaster site carried by local state media showed a broad slope of dark mud unleashed onto mountain terraces and village roofs covered in snow.

More than 300 rescue workers were deployed along with dozens of fire engines and earth-moving equipment, according to CCTV.

Footage aired on CCTV showed firefighters in orange jumpsuits climbing through the gray rubble of destroyed homes to search for survivors, against the backdrop of steep mountain ridges powdered with snow.

One man was pulled from the rubble shortly after 11 a.m. local time, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The area was hit by heavy snow on Sunday night, and although the snowfall has lightened since, the temperature still lingered below freezing Monday, CCTV said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged local officials to quickly ramp up rescue efforts in a statement published by CCTV.

Xi also called on officials across China to be on high alert to avoid any major accidents as Chinese New Year celebrations approach, according to CCTV.

The remote mountains of Yunnan are prone to landslides, due to steep slopes and unstable soil.

Much of southern China, including Yunnan, is in the middle of a cold snap, with temperatures dropping near or below freezing, according to China's Meteorological Administration.