85 missing a day after Shenzhen landslide, residents blame government

SHENZHEN, China -- Rescuers searched Monday for 85 missing people a day after the collapse of a mountain of excavated soil and construction waste that had been piled up over two years in China's manufacturing centre of Shenzhen.

See Full Article

Authorities said the landslide buried or damaged 33 buildings in the industrial park in Shenzhen, a city near Hong Kong that makes products used around the world ranging from cellphones to cars.

Residents blamed the government while officials cited human error, with one ministry saying, "The pile was too big, the pile was too steep."

The landslide Sunday covered an area of 380,000 square meters (450,000 square yards) with silt 10 metres (33 feet) deep, authorities said. At least 16 people were hospitalized, including children, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The Shenzhen government said seven trapped people had been rescued and 85 others remained missing Monday evening. Earlier in the day it had said 91 people were missing and seven rescued, but it gave no explanation for the change in the missing. No deaths had been reported.

The landslide is the fourth major disaster to strike China in a year following a deadly New Year's Eve stampede in Shanghai, the capsizing of a cruise ship in the Yangtze River and a massive explosion at a chemicals warehouse in Tianjin on the coast near Beijing.

Human error has been suspected or confirmed in all three previous disasters, pointing to an often callous attitude toward safety in China despite the threat of harsh penalties.

In Sunday's landslide, the Ministry of Land and Resources said a steep man-made mountain of dirt, cement chunks and other construction waste had been piled up against a 100-meter (330-foot) -high hill over the past two years.

Heavy rains in the region saturated the soil, making it heavy and unstable, and ultimately causing it to collapse with massive force.

"The pile was too big, the pile was too steep, leading to instability and collapse," the ministry said, adding that the original, natural hill remained intact.

Some residents blamed government negligence.

"If the government had taken proper measures in the first place, we would not have had this problem," said Chen Chengli.

Chen's neighbour, Yi Jimin, said the disaster wasn't an act of nature.

"Heavy rains and a collapse of a mountain are natural disasters, but this wasn't a natural disaster, this was man-made," Yi said.

Aerial photos from the microblog of the Public Security Ministry's Firefighting Bureau showed the area awash in a sea of red mud, with buildings either knocked on their side or collapsed entirely.

Posts on the microblog said the mud had filled many of the buildings, leaving the "room of survival extremely small."

Cellphone camera video of the disaster on state broadcaster CCTV showed a massive wall of debris slamming into the buildings and sending up huge plumes of dust.

A man who runs a store selling cigarettes and alcohol less than a kilometre (a half mile) from the site said local residents had known that the pile of soil was dangerous and feared something bad would happen.

"We heard a sound like an explosion and then all we saw was smoke," said the man, who gave only his surname, Dong. "We knew what had happened immediately."

The Ministry of Land and Resources said it had dispatched personnel to help guard against a second collapse.

The damaged buildings included 14 factories, two office buildings, one cafeteria, three dormitories and 13 sheds or workshops, Shenzhen Deputy Mayor Liu Qingsheng said at a news conference.

The Shenzhen government said 600 people had been relocated.

Nearly 3,000 people were involved in the rescue efforts, aided by 151 cranes, backhoes and other construction equipment, along with rescue dogs and specialized life-detecting equipment.

CCTV said President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang issued orders to make rescuing those trapped the top priority.

The initial landslide sparked an explosion in a gas pipeline owned by PetroChina, the country's top oil and gas producer. By Monday morning, the fire was extinguished and a temporary section of pipe was being laid.

Three decades of headlong economic growth have been catching up with China in terms of safety and damage to the environment. Many of the country's major cities suffer from chronic air pollution. A four-day smog red alert continued in Beijing on Monday, forcing schools to close, factories to curtail production and half the city's cars off the roads.

Associated Press writers Louise Watt and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Former Trump aide Flynn may have broken law, lawmakers say

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to break U.S. law when he failed to seek permission or inform the government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015, leaders of a House committee investigating possible Russian ties with the Trump campaign said Tuesday. Source
  • Torrents of juice flood Russian town after factory accident

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW - A flash flood of fruit juice from a beverage plant in southern Russia has flowed into a town's streets and into the River Don. The Prosecutor's Office in the Lipetsk region said in a statement that the roof of PepsiCo's Lebedyansky factory collapsed Tuesday morning, injuring two people. Source
  • Toronto man faces manslaughter charge in death of 90-year-old hospital resident

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police have laid a manslaughter charge against a man accused of attacking a 90-year-old resident at a Toronto hospital. Investigators say the incident took place in February, when a man at Bridgepoint Health pushed another resident, who fell to the floor and struck her head. Source
  • Bidding tops $125K for Maud Lewis painting found in thrift shop

    Canada News CBC News
    The auction for a Maud Lewis painting found in a New Hamburg thrift shop is less than a week old, but with 26 bids recorded, it's already reached $125,208. The painting, entitled Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fisherman, Bay View, N.S. Source
  • Canadian trucker arrested in Texas for fatal Montana crash

    World News CTV News
    GREAT FALLS, Mont. - A Canadian man is facing charges alleging he fled the scene of a fatal Montana crash involving a semitrailer and a minivan. The Great Falls Tribune reported Monday that Jaroglav Kleberc has been arrested in Texas and charged with negligent homicide and other crimes for the April 15 crash. Source
  • Montreal funeral parlour with reported Mafia ties hit with suspected arson

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A suspected case of arson at a funeral home with reported ties to a major organized crime family in Montreal is being investigated by police. Police spokesman Raphael Bergeron said today the fire caused relatively minor damage to the parlour in the Saint-Leonard borough in the north of the city. Source
  • Woman gets prison in death of man with maggot-filled wound

    World News Toronto Sun
    READING, Pa. — A woman was sentenced Tuesday to up to 10 years in prison in the death of her disabled boyfriend, whose foot wounds became severely infected and filled with maggots. Stacey Ann Cunnius, 43, pleaded no contest Tuesday in Berks County to third-degree murder and neglect of care for a dependent person, The Reading Eagle reported. Source
  • WorkSafeBC, TSB take over as RCMP wrap up probe into fatal B.C. derailment

    Canada News CTV News
    WOSS, B.C. -- An RCMP investigation into a train derailment that killed three people on northern Vancouver Island has concluded. Cpl. Janelle Shoihet confirms no criminal activity caused the derailment on April 19 in the small community of Woss. Source
  • 'Smoking gun' telegram offers evidence of Armenian genocide: professor

    World News CTV News
    A Turkish historian has unearthed a “smoking gun” telegram he says is evidence of an Armenian genocide during the First World War. After many years of trying to access crucial Ottoman Empire documents related to the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians, Taner Akcam, a history professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, finally discovered a photographic record of atelegram dated July 4, 1915. Source
  • Ivanka Trump vows to push for change for women, defends father

    World News CBC News
    Ivanka Trump pledged to push for "incremental, positive change" for women in the U.S. economy, and defended her father's attitudes toward women as she made her first international outing Tuesday as a White House adviser. Trump told an audience at a conference on women in Berlin that she's still "rather unfamiliar" with her role as first daughter and adviser. Source