Myanmar jade mine landslide kills 160 people

Yangoon: At least 162 bodies have been found after a landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, officials said.

Rescue work has continued all day for people still missing at the site in the Hpakant area of Kachin state, the BBC reported.

A wave of mud and rock triggered by heavy rain engulfed those collecting stones, the fire service said. Myanmar is the world’s biggest source of jade but its mines have seen numerous accidents, many involving people who scavenge for stones.

The country’s fire service department said in a Facebook post (in Burmese): The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud, which hit after heavy rainfall.

Kachin state’s Minister of Social Affairs, Dashi La Seng, told BBC Burmese: “All of a sudden… huge amounts of mud together with rainwater ran into the pit. It was like a tsunami.”

Heavy rain continued all day during the rescue work. Police said some people had defied a warning issued on Wednesday not to work in the area after the rainfall, although the advice may also have saved many lives. Video of the incident shows a massive landslide pouring into a large flooded pit or lake.

Maung Khaing, a 38-year-old miner, told Reuters he saw a towering pile of waste close to collapse and people were shouting run, run.