Mud flow kills 56 in China

September 10th, 2008 - 1:43 am ICT by IANS  

Taiyuan (China), Sep 10 (Xinhua) At least 56 people were killed in a rain-triggered mud and rock flow in north China’s Shanxi province, the local rescue headquarters said Tuesday.The accident occurred around 8 a.m. Monday in Xiangfen county in Linfen city.

The mud and rock flow destroyed a three-storey office building, a market and some village houses in the valley.

Witnesses said the flow roared down the valley and washed away the market and houses in a few minutes.

A team of more than 1,550 police, firefighters and people, with 30 cranes and excavators, were participating in the rescue operation.

The rescuers had searched through about 70 percent of the rubble, said Lian Zhendong, a local government official.

Rough terrain, poor telecommunications and continuous rainfall were hampering the rescue effort.

Initial investigations revealed the accident’s cause was “a mine operated illegally and the stored waste iron ore dregs that had surpassed the capacity of the holding pond,” the rescue headquarters said.

Police said the mine owner and eight other people related to the accident had been detained. Several officials, including the local head of the work safety administration, village party secretary and village chief have been sacked for failing to supervise safety.

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