First body found after Tibet landslide buries 83
Beijing: Nearly 36 hours after a massive landslide buried 83 gold mine workers in Tibet, Chinese authorities today recovered one body even as no signs of life have been detected.
The body was found after more than 30 hours of digging by hundreds of rescuers, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
The disaster struck a workers' camp of the Jiama Copper Polymetallic Mine in Maizhokunggar County, about 68 km from Provincial Capital Lhasa in the early hours yesterday.
Rescuers are still digging with their bare hands, as the narrow and damaged local roads had prevented much large-scale machinery from entering, Xinhua reported.
A rescue worker had described the chance of survivors being found as "slim", the report said, as teams using sniffer dogs and radar combed the mountainside in a hunt for survivors that was hampered by bad weather, altitude sickness and further landslides.
The disaster zone is located 4,600 metres above sea level. Temperatures as low as minus three degrees Celsius have affected the sniffer dogs' senses of smell.
The report quoted a rescue worker saying there were cracks along nearby mountains, which indicated further landslides were possible.
Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said at the site an expert team has been formed to investigate the cause of the landslide.
A spokesman for the regional government said at a press conference that the identities of the buried miners have been confirmed as rescue work was continuing.
The victims were workers from Tibet Huatailong Mining Development Company, a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corporation, a state-owned company and the nation's biggest gold miner by output.
The landslide engulfed a three km area and 30 meters deep in average, covered with about two million cubic meters of mud, rock and debris.
As of noon time, more than 300,000 cubic meters of debris had been removed, according to Jiang Yi, an armed police officer engaged in the rescue.