Beijing: One body was recovered on Tuesday from debris of the houses that collapsed in landslides which struck an industrial estate in China's manufacturing hub of Shenzen as hundreds of rescuers mounted a massive operation to locate 85 missing people, including 32 women.
One body was dug out around 6 am, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Last night the authority scaled down the number of missing persons in the worst urban landslide disaster in Shenzhen city to 85 from earlier 91.
Using life detectors, excavators and drones about 3,000 rescue worker carefully dug through the nearly five-storey mud pile stretching up to 10 football fields for survivors.
The rescuers were close to reaching the first floor of a buried office building last evening, the report said.
Experts flown to the area for rescue operations dug five large pits through which they tried to detect signs of life using life detectors.
"The rescue is extremely difficult with mud and silt filling up the excavation," Cui Bo, a firefighter present at the scene said.
Beneath the mud lies 33 low rise buildings, 14 factories, two offices, one canteen and three dormitories of the industrial estate of Shenzhen.
The landslide occurred at a quarry-turned-dump. The exact reason is yet to be ascertained. "With the increasing size, the pile of waste was unstable," said Peng Weiping, a geologist in Guangdong Province.
Heavy trucks have been transporting silt and waste for the past two years, causing noise and pollution with many complaints, said a worker in the industrial park who declined to be identified.
According to the city's rule, regular safety checkups should be carried out on the facilities for construction waste by operators and government authorities.
The approval and management of the landslide-hit one is unclear, the official media reported.
State television CCTV reported massive unplanned quarrying of the nearby mountains followed by heavy excavation of soil for construction resulting the hills crumbling letting a wave of mud engulfing the area.
But for a huge fish pond inform the hills which slowed down the mud flow into the industrial estate the casualties would have been higher. The delay enabled people to run for safety, survivors said.
900 people were moved to safety after the mud slide which experts said is the worst in China in recent times. The landslide covered an area of 380,000 square meters in
10 meters of silt, said Liu Qingsheng, the deputy mayor of Shenzhen.