YEN BAI — At least 17 people were killed in a landslide yesterday morning while heading to a tin mine in La Pan Tan Commune, in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai.
|Policemen, soldiers and locals search for victims buried after a landslide in mountainous Yen Bai Province. — Photo Courtersy of Yen Bai Police Department
Representatives of the Mu Cang Chai District People's Committee said dozens of indigenous people were walking towards the mine owned by Thinh Dat Company Ltd to collect left-over tin ore when disaster struck.
Mountain landslides, caused by torrential rains over the past few days, buried around 20 people, according to witnesses.
Three others were injured, one of them later died in hospital.
By 5pm, 16 bodies had been hauled from under thousands of cubic metres of rock and soil.
Around 100 policemen and soldiers continued to work in heavy rain as they searched for the remaining victims.
Chairman of La Pan Tan Commune People's Committee Giang Chu Ly said local people often come to the area to collect left-over tin ore since the mine was open in 2010.
"Although we have made them commit to stopping this practice, poor people in the area sill take risks trying to get some tin ore to sell," he said.
Six killed in central coast
Since Monday the torrential rains have also killed at least 11 people in central coastal areas while another person remains missing, the National Committee for Search and Rescue reported last night.
Rains and floods have destroyed 62 houses, poured into more than 3,100 other homes, ruined nearly 20,000 hectares of crops, and have swept away dozens of bridges in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces.
Landslides have also damaged major traffic routes, isolating mountainous areas in these localities.
Thanh Hoa and Nghe An were the worst hit areas, both suffering four deaths each. Ninh Binh and Ha Tinh reported one and two deaths, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Central Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Centre has warned that the north and central region may suffer more flash floods and landslides over the weekend.
Crew members missing
Seven crew members remain missing after a 2,000-tonne sea liner sank in rough seas off the coast of northern Hai Phong City on Wednesday.
Only two men on board were saved by army rescue teams.
Survivors said the Hoang Thinh ship, which left Truc Ninh Habour in Nam Dinh Province that day to collect goods from Quang Ninh Province, sank due to huge waves and strong winds.
Rescue efforts continued yesterday in search of the missing crew members. — VNS