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More Than 140 May Be Buried After Landslide In Southwest China

Chinese military police and rescue workers at the site of a landslide in in Xinmo village, Sichuan province on Saturday.
STR AFP/Getty Images
Chinese military police and rescue workers at the site of a landslide in in Xinmo village, Sichuan province on Saturday.

More than 140 people may be buried after a landslide in the town of Xinmo in southwest China Saturday.

Local officials are estimating 46 homes were buried under tons of rubble.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that at least three people had been rescued and taken to a hospital with injuries it said were not life-threatening.

The landslide fell from "a high part of a mountain" nearby, the agency reports. Xinhua quoted the government of Sichuan province, where the town is located, as saying 141 people were missing.

"There are several tons of rock," police captain Chen Tiebo told the state television network CCTV, according to the BBC. "It's a seismic area here," he said.

The Sichuan government has dispatched more than "500 rescuers with 23 sniffer dogs and 16 life detectors" for search and rescue efforts, according Xinhua.

"Initial accounts from villagers nearby said there had been rain in the area, but some said it was not very heavy and there was no sign of an impending landslide," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

More children than usual may be in the town because China's schools are on vacation, Schmitz adds.

The landslide fell around 6 a.m. local time, Xinhua says, and also blocked a section of a nearby river and buried about a mile of a road.

The town remains without power, the agency adds, and the regional government has approved about $730,000-worth of rescue funding.

A massive earthquake hit the Sichuan province in 2008, which left about 90,000 dead or missing, and the BBC notes it also caused a landslide that killed 37 tourists.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.