18 firefighters, 1 guide die in blaze

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-31 10:21
Firefighters battle a forest fire in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan province, on March 31, 2020. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A forest fire that flared up in Xichang, Sichuan province, on Monday afternoon, killed 18 firefighters and a local guide, the city reported.

The initial site of the blaze was at Daying Farm in Xichang, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture. A strong wind spread the flames to Lushan Mountain in the city.

At 1:30 am on Tuesday, a team of 21 firefighters from Ningnan county in Liangshan prefecture, led by a local guide, were reported missing on the mountain, according to the headquarters, which had been set up in Xichang to coordinate firefighting operations.

A search and rescue operation was undertaken. At about 7 am, three firefighters were found alive and sent to a hospital. They were in stable condition, the headquarters said. Later, 19 bodies were found —18 firefighters and the local guide.

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