Skip to main content

State media: 46 dead after landslide in southwest China

By Greg Botelho and Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 9:35 AM EST, Sat January 12, 2013
Rescuers on Friday, January 11, begin searching for missing residents in disaster-hit Gaopo village in southwest China. A landslide struck Friday morning, triggered by rain and snow that had saturated the largely rocky area for 10 days, Li Lianju, deputy director of the Yunnan Land and Resources Department, told state media. Rescuers on Friday, January 11, begin searching for missing residents in disaster-hit Gaopo village in southwest China. A landslide struck Friday morning, triggered by rain and snow that had saturated the largely rocky area for 10 days, Li Lianju, deputy director of the Yunnan Land and Resources Department, told state media.
HIDE CAPTION
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
Killer landslide hits southwest China village
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A landslide hits Friday morning in southwest China
  • It buries 27 adults and 19 children, officials say
  • The disaster prompts a large-scale rescue and relief effort

(CNN) -- Burrowing by hand and machines, Chinese soldiers and emergency crews toiled on steep, frigid slopes looking for the few missing after a devastating landslide killed dozens of villagers.

By early Saturday, word came that the tragedy had struck the mountain community in Gaopo.

The landslide killed 46 people in the southwest China village, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

A powerful avalanche of mud and dirt had taken away 10% of village.

Twenty-seven adults, and 19 children.

Video from state-run CCTV showed what was once Gaopo, the small community in China's Yunnan Province. Some houses were crushed; others had ceased to exist entirely, except for stray bricks that made their way downhill.

Earlier, rescuers drenched in mud swarmed the scene, digging fervently with shovels, looking for signs of life.

Instead, they found shredded clothes, wallets and other evidence of those killed in the disaster.

"We pulled out several people, one of whom was breathing weakly," said Li Yongju, 50, a resident of the neighboring community of Zengjiazhai. "But after a while, he died."

Zhou Benju was born in the landslide hit area, then married a man from Zengjiazhai and moved there. A loud noise woke her, and later she learned the toll the event had taken on her family.

"In this disaster, ... my grandma, brother, uncle and my aunt's family members died," Zhou said, according to Xinhua.

The landslide struck Friday morning, triggered by rain and snow that had saturated the largely rocky area for 10 days, Li Lianju, deputy director of the Yunnan Land and Resources Department, told state media.

The Zhaojiagou area of Gaopo village had not experienced landslides before, according to Li.

But Friday morning, 46 people in the community of 468 people were buried, according to the local civil affairs bureau.

Two others suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, Xinhua reported.

The disaster prompted a massive search and rescue effort that included more than 20 excavators and front-end loaders.

And there were more than 1,000 soldiers, police, firefighters and mine rescuers participating in the effort, local officials said.

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:18 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A top retired general has confessed to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.
updated 1:07 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
A group in China escapes from a stuck elevator thanks to one man and his trusty hammer. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Facebook's founder says he taught himself Mandarin and tested his skills with students in China.
updated 9:33 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
China launched an experimental spacecraft that is scheduled to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
updated 12:19 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Full marks for ingenuity: This was a truly high-tech scam.
updated 1:26 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
The rationale behind Confucius Institutes -- an international chain of academic centers run by an arm of the Chinese government -- is understandable.
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G wants everyone to know that he's not a foreign agitator trying to defy the Chinese Communist Party.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
updated 1:11 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
updated 11:15 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
updated 10:54 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
updated 10:29 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
updated 7:25 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
updated 8:20 PM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
ADVERTISEMENT