Rescue workers in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen early Wednesday found a survivor of a devastating landslide, 67 hours after a massive pile of construction waste collapsed and covered factories, worker dormitories and apartment blocks in a sea of red earth.
The survivor, Tian Zeming -- a migrant worker from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing -- was in stable condition in the Guangming New District Central Hospital, the state-run New China News Agency reported. Tian was located at about 3 a.m. with his leg crushed by concrete, but his mind lucid and his speech clear, the news service said.
More than 70 people remained missing after Sunday’s landslide, according to the news agency, and many are feared dead. At least four bodies have been recovered. Many of the victims were migrant workers from Henan, an impoverished northern Chinese province, who were drawn to the southern boom town for low-wage employment. At least 900 people were evacuated, officials said.
More than 5,000 rescue workers have been dispatched to the scene, said Shenzhen’s vice mayor, Zhang Hu, according to the news service.
Tian had told rescuers that he was near another survivor, yet state media said that by the time rescuers found the person, he had already died.
Rescuers also reported that they discovered a live chicken amid the debris on Wednesday. State media published pictures of grinning, orange-clad safety workers holding the bird and giving it water.
In August, a series of blasts at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, a municipality near Beijing, killed more than 100 people and injured nearly 800. In June, a cruise ship capsized on the Yangtze river amid heavy winds, killing more than 440 people. Government investigators later found that the ship had been cited for safety violations.
Authorities have detained the vice chairman of a Shenzhen-based company, Yixianglong Investment, under suspicion that it had jurisdiction over the slag heap that collapsed and buried the area, the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper reported Tuesday
On Wednesday, stories from survivors of the landslide began to emerge.
Wang Yongquan, a migrant worker from Henan province, told the news agency that he escaped from the landslide with his 5-year-old daughter in his arms. “I had never run that fast before,” he told the agency.
“Dozens of people were trying to run away from the mud,” another survivor, Zhou Suqing, 48, told the South China Morning Post. “Some were lucky enough to be pushed out by the impact of the landslide, but others were buried under the mud.” Her husband had been buried alive, the paper said.
“I wanted to communicate the information about where these people were probably buried to the rescue teams, but I had no chance to speak to them,” she told the newspaper.
Tommy Yang in the Times’ Beijing bureau contributed to this report.