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13 detained after deadly landslide in China

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Death toll reaches 151 as over 3,000 rescuers continue to dig
  • Deaths happened after torrential rain at unlicensed mine in Xiangfen, Shanxi
  • Iron-ore waste in a holding pond exceeded the pond's capacity
  • Mud and rocks roared down valley to collapse a warehouse, bury homes
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(CNN) -- Authorities have detained 13 people after a mud and rock slide that may have killed several hundred people in northern China, state-run media reported.

The official death toll rose to 151 Thursday as a rescue team of more than 3,000 people with 160 excavators continued to dig through hundreds of thousands of tons of slush, mud and rocks around a mine in Xiangfen, a county in China's Shanxi Province, the Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

Several hundred people may have died, the country's top safety administrator told a state-run newspaper Thursday. Secretary General Wang Qingxian of the Shanxi provincial government, however, told Xinhua that "reports that hundreds of people were missing were mere speculation."

Wang Jun, state administrator of work safety, told the state-run China Daily newspaper that the number of people buried could be in the "several hundreds." He said there is almost no chance that rescue crews will find another survivor, China Daily reported.

Witnesses said the deluge buried a village of more than 1,000 people, the newspaper said.

Relatives of the dead will receive 200,000 yuan ($29,215) each, according to state media.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have urged an "all-out" rescue effort. They also pledged an investigation and said that "those responsible for the accident should be dealt with in accordance with laws," state media reported.

Among those who have been detained are the board chairman of the Xinta Mining Company, the mine manager, a vice manager and accountant. The Communist Party chief and head of Taosi Township and the work safety bureau director and chief engineer in Xiangfen County "were dismissed for neglect of duty," Xinhua said.

The deaths occurred after torrential rain at the unlicensed Tashan Mine, which operated illegally in Xiangfen, a county in China's Shanxi Province, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.


The amount of iron-ore waste in a holding pond exceeded the pond's capacity, Xinhua said, and intense rain triggered a flow of mud and rocks that roared down a valley Monday to collapse a warehouse, bury homes and damage cars.

The deluge also destroyed a three-story office building and a market.

All About ChinaHu JintaoWen Jiabao

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