Landslide buries school killing at least 16 students

Rescue workers digging up the buried students 
By: Debbie Gross 

Many students were killed after a landslide buried a school building, according to reports.

At least 16 students were killed and three others were missing after a landslide buried a school in a mountainous area of southwestern China today, a state news agency reported.

Eighteen students were buried in the Tiantou Elementary School, and a 19th victim in a nearby house, local officials said.

Another person was seriously injured in the landslide, which occurred in an area hit by a devastating earthquake last month, they said.

About 2,000 local people, doctors, police officers and soldiers were trying to rescue the victims, Yiliang county government said on its website. Sixteen students were confirmed dead, a report said.

The landslide hit the school building and cottages in the village of Zhenhe at around 8:00 p.m. local time, the county government said.

More than 800 people living near a river blocked by landslides were evacuated from the area.

Rescuers rushed from Yiliang county three hours away to dig up the Zhenhe students, Peng Hong, an official of the county office of Foreign Affairs said.

Mr. Peng said that the cause of the collapse was not yet known, but Yiliang was hit by an earthquake last month, killing 81 people and devastating several villages.

In addition, rains have lashed the region of mountains and steep valleys.

Although today was a holiday throughout China, students were in school to make up for the missed days after the earthquake, Mr. Peng said.