The battered bodies of more than 160 jade miners were pulled from a sea of mud after a landslide in northern Myanmar on Thursday, after one of the worst-ever accidents to hit the treacherous industry.
Scores die each year while working in the country’s lucrative but poorly regulated jade trade, which uses low-paid migrant workers to scrape out a gem highly coveted in China.
The disaster struck after heavy rainfall pounded the open-cast mines, close to the Chinese border in Kachin state, where billions of dollars of jade is believed to be scoured each year from bare hillsides.
A slice of mountain collapsed, sending a churning torrent of mud into an aquamarine-coloured lake of mine waste water as workers scampered uphill.
“There are so many people floating in the water,” said a bystander.
Dozens “were smothered by a wave of mud”, the Myanmar Fire Services Department said in a Facebook post.
Rescue workers, including the fire department and local police, worked throughout the day to pull bodies out of a mud lake under a continuous deluge of heavy monsoon rain.
“By 7:15 pm, 162 bodies were found,” said the department, adding that 54 people were injured and sent to nearby hospitals.
Mud-slaked and bloodied bodies of miners were laid out in grim rows under tarpaulins, some missing shoes as a result of the force of the wall of mud which hit them.
march, July2, 2020 -