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Search continues for Chinese miners

Three days after landslide east of Tibetan capital, the search for 62 remaining miners continues.

Last Modified: 01 Apr 2013 12:19
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Rescue worker says search for survivors will continue as long as even "one percent chance" remains [Reuters]

Rescuers have recovered 21 bodies three days after a massive landslide in Tibet buried more than 80 mine workers, China National Radio has reported.

Another 62 miners however remained missing under two million cubic metres of earth east of the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Monday, with about 3,500 emergency workers battling snow and altitude sickness to search for them.

Some searchers dug with their bare hands to avoid damaging bodies or because the disaster had blocked roads needed to deliver large-scale rescue equipment, reports said.

Two of the bodies were found on Saturday and the rest on Sunday, and the search will continue "as long as there was a one percent chance" of recovering bodies, the radio quoted a rescue worker as saying.

The disaster struck when a huge section of land tumbled onto a mine workers' camp in Maizhokunggar county, east of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, at 6:00am local time on Friday (22:00 GMT).

Experts from the ministry of land and resources have arrived in the area to investigate the cause of the landslide.

Mountainous regions of Tibet are prone to such occurrences, which can be exacerbated by heavy mining activity, and the risk of additional landslides has heightened concerns about safety.

In recent years China has discovered huge mineral resources in Tibet, including tens of millions of tonnes of copper, lead and zinc, and billions of tonnes of iron ore.

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