China / Society

Rescuers race against clock to search for the missing

By Shi Xiaofeng in Suichang, Zhejiang Province and Xu Junqian in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-01 08:02

Rescuers race against clock to search for the missing 
Excavation machines are used by rescuers to search for survivors at the landslide site in Suichang county, Lishui, in Zhejiang province on Friday.Lin Yunlong / For China Daily

Pregnant woman in ICU after being pulled to safety by neighbor, 72

A total of seven people were confirmed dead, 15 rescued and around 20 still missing by Friday evening following a rain-triggered landslide that devastated a village in Zhejiang province, officials said.

Many rescuers were working around the clock. Four additional bodies were found on Friday, adding to the three found on Thursday.

Ten were reported injured, the most serious case being that of a 25-year-old woman who is seven months pregnant, surnamed Zhan, who was pulled to safety by a 72-year-old woman in perhaps the disaster's most dramatic rescue.

The landslide was caused when Typhoon Megi hit Sucun village in Suichang at about 5:30 pm on Wednesday, causing about 400,000 cubic meters of dirt, rocks and other debris to slide down a hillside.

More than 4,000 people - with the help of excavators, life-detection equipment, dogs and drones to check unstable areas - were racing against the clock to search for the missing. Favorable weather was helping.

President Xi Jinping has urged full efforts to search for those missing, treat the injured, and guarantee the safety and livelihood of those evacuated from their ruined homes.

One of the 10 reported injured had been discharged from the hospital by Friday evening, and eight were still hospitalized in stable condition with bone fractures and soft tissue injuries, officials said.

The pregnant woman surnamed Zhan, who lost a five-year-old daughter and her parents-in-law in the landslide, was sent to hospital around noon on Friday. Her left leg was fractured and she had sustained other injuries and she was taken to the intensive-care unit.

Zhan's pregnancy made her case more complicated to treat, doctors said.

By Friday evening, Zhan's condition was reported to have stabilized, the hospital said.

The old woman who rescued Zhan, her neighbor Lin Juxiang, was helping her injured, 78-year-old husband limp to safety when she heard Zhan's cries for help.

Lin pulled Zhan to safety using a stick. As the pair fled, Lin saw the mudslide coming toward them and they climbed atop a boulder. Two hours later, rescuers found them neck deep in mud and water.

A total of 1,460 residents were evacuated from the village for safety, many of them elderly.


Rescuers race against clock to search for the missing

Families of some of the missing wait for news on Friday at the site of the disaster in Suichang county.Dong Xuming / For China Daily

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