In a continuation on the story of the landslide in Chongqing reported a few days ago, Xinhua has found two more bodies and lists the death toll at nine, though earlier the state radio reported 72 missing and 26 dead:
The death toll was six men and three women, and eight people were injured, rescuers said.
The local government has relocated 85 people whose homes were threatened by a barrier lake formed by the landslide.
The landslide buried two entrances of the Jiwei Mountain mine, an iron ore plant, and 12 houses in Tiekuang Township, Wulong County, about 170 kilometers southeast of central Chongqing.
The AFP notes the discrepancy in numbers:
The government Saturday said 72 people were missing in the avalanche, while state radio said Saturday 26 people were confirmed dead.
Ai did not explain the discrepancy in the toll numbers.
State news agency Xinhua later reported that seven bodies had been recovered from the debris. The seven bodies, including five men and two women, had yet to be identified, Xinhua reported.
Official figures show that more than 3,200 workers died in China’s notoriously dangerous coal mines last year, but independent observers say the actual figure could be much higher, as many accidents are covered up.
Families of victims of the landslide that reportedly killed 35 people in the southwestern industrial hub of Chongqing will receive at least 200,000 yuan ($29,200), the standard compensation payment for fatalities from negligent accidents, local officials said.
Although officials with Wulong county, where Friday’s accident took place, have said there was “no clear indication” human error caused the landslide, various local sources claimed excessive drilling and mining were to blame.
The privately-owned iron ore mine, named Sanlian and boasting a capacity of 100 tons a day, had neglected government warnings to stop production because of “possible geological dangers” since 2001, said several miners.
Su Xianyun, one of the mine’s three owners, is reportedly in police custody.