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Six mine workers have reportedly died and dozens of others missing following a catastrophic mine collapse in China.
Video footage, recorded Wednesday (February 22) from a truck nearby showed the land caving in, leaving clouds of dust and dirt in its wake.
A male voice was heard saying: "The whole slope has collapsed… How many people must be dead from that? If I’d lined up over there today, I’d have died in there, too.”
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State broadcasters in China have claimed there were 59 workers inside the open-pit mine in the Inner Mongolia region’s Alxa Left Banner area at the time of the collapse.
So far, six have been found alive and another six have been found dead. The remaining 47 are unaccounted for.
One of the rescued workers, named Ma Jianping spoke to CCTV broadcasters from his hospital bed in the neighbouring Ningxia region.
He said: "I had just started work when I saw slag falling down the slope. The situation got worse and worse.
“We tried to organise an evacuation, but it was too late — the slope came down."
The collapse had affected a “wide area” of the mine operated by the Xinjing Coal Mining Company, but it is not clear what caused the collapse.
Further footage, shared on Twitter following the incident, showed rescue workers in orange overalls and yellow helmets dwarfed by a mountain of rust-coloured rubble, and excavators working to clear some of the debris as rescue efforts continued.
Reports say some of the rescue efforts had been hindered due to another landslide later that day.
China’s ministry of emergency management has issued a statement claiming they are searching for the "missing personnel without delay, and not to lose hope of finding them”, Xinhua reported Friday (February 24).
They added that "saving lives is still the top priority" and that “efforts should also be made to prevent secondary disasters”.
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