MORE than 50 people are feared killed after a landslide in northern Myanmar engulfed jade miners while they were sleeping, local police said on Tuesday, the latest deadly accident in a notoriously dangerous industry. Dozens die each year in landslides caused by jade mining, a notoriously corrupt and poorly regulated industry concentrated near the country’s border with China. Local police described a freak accident in Kachin State on Monday night so big it created a huge “mud lake” that buried the miners as well as some 40 vehicles.
“Fifty-four people are missing in the mud,” a duty officer from Hpakant township police station told AFP, asking not to be named, adding that only two bodies had been recovered so far.
“There’s no way they (the missing) could have survived.” The Ministry of Information confirmed the accident and number of missing, adding that the area was mined by Myanmar Thura Gems and Shwe Nagar Koe Kaung companies. Myanmar Thura Gems director Hla Soe Oo told news agency AFP by phone he was en route to the site but did not have further details. Local media shared images, unverified by AFP, that showed the walls of a mine stretching vertically a couple of hundred metres above a vast pool of mud, revealing only the tops of two yellow excavation vehicles. Hundreds of onlookers gathered nearby,staring at the disaster site and taking photos with their phones.