A massive landslide swept through a gold mining area in mountainous Tibet early Friday morning,burying 83 workers believed to have been asleep at the time,Chinese state media said.
About 2 million cubic metres of mud,rock and debris engulfed the area as workers were resting and covered an area around 4 sq km,China Central Television said.
Xinhua News Agency said the workers in Lhasas Maizhokunggar county worked for a subsidiary of China National Gold Group Corp.,a state-owned enterprise and Chinas largest gold producer.
The site is about 70 kilometers east of Lhasa,the regional capital.
More than 1,000 police,firefighters,soldiers and medics have been deployed to the site to conduct searches armed with devices to detect signs of life and accompanied by sniffer dogs,reports said. Around 30 excavators were also digging away at the site late Friday as temperatures fell to just below freezing.
The reports said the landslide was caused by a natural disaster but did not provide specifics.