Three people were injured and 27 remain missing after a landslide buried 22 residential and industrial buildings in an industrial park in south China Sunday.
A nearby section of the West-to-East natural gas pipeline exploded after the landslide struck the Hengtaiyu industrial park at around 11:40 a.m., causing more than 100,000 square meters of debris as of 7 p.m. The park is located in the Guangming New District in northwestern Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.
A video clip on microblog Sina Weibo shows powerful mud rocking the site with roaring sounds.
A resident living about four kilometers away from the site told Xinhua that he heard "a loud explosion" at around noon.
"It must be a big accident, as I could hear the sound from so far away."
An employee with the Liuxu Technology Co. in the park said power supply in the company suddenly went down at around noon.
"I saw red earth and mud running towards the company building," he said. "Fortunately, our building was not hit, and all people in our company were safely evacuated."
He said the landslide first crushed into a fish pond before burying buildings in the park, with water splashing up to three stories high. "Without the pond’s buffer, there would be more damage," he said.
A woman surnamed Hu told the local Shenzhen Evening News that she saw her father engulfed by earth in his own truck. The family make a living by recycling hardware waste. "It’s been hours after he was buried, and we are quite worried," Hu said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have ordered immediate rescue efforts following the disaster.
Xi ordered Guangdong and Shenzhen authorities to do everything possible to minimize casualties, treat the injured and comfort the family members of the victims. He said scientific rescue efforts are needed to prevent further damages.
Li urged the ministry of land and resources and other central authorities to send officials to help the local government in its rescue efforts. He ordered investigations into the cause of the disaster.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, has sent a working group to Shenzhen to help coordinate rescue efforts. Guangdong and Shenzhen officials are already at the site.
More than 1,500 people, including firemen, police and health workers, are involved in the rescue operations, with more than 900 residents having been evacuated by 5 p.m.
A total of 94 fire engines, 44 life-detectors, 4 drones and 13 sniffer dogs have been employed in rescue work, according to the official Weibo account of the Fire Department under the Ministry of Public Security.