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Beijing (AFP) April 1, 2013
Recovery crews have found 36 bodies after a huge landslide in Tibet buried more than 80 mine workers three days ago, Chinese state-run media said Monday, but dangerous conditions forced a halt to operations.
Another 47 miners remained missing under two million cubic metres of earth east of the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and more than 4,000 emergency workers had been battling snow and altitude sickness to search for them, said the official news agency Xinhua.
But it added: "Their odds of survival are slim."
Work at the site was suspended on Monday afternoon because of the risk of another landslide, it said.
Some workers dug with their bare hands following Friday's landslide to avoid damaging bodies or because the disaster had blocked roads needed to deliver large-scale rescue equipment, reports said.
One worker at the camp, Zhao Linjiang, survived the landslide but his brother was among those buried, Xinhua said.
"I was numbed by the scene and trudged back and forth, crying all along," it quoted him as saying in Lhasa, wiping tears from his face. "It's so cosy here, but my brother is so cold up there on the mountain."
Experts from the ministry of land and resources have arrived in the area to investigate the cause of the landslide.
Mountainous regions of Tibet are prone to such occurrences, which can be exacerbated by heavy mining activity, and the risk of additional landslides has heightened concerns about safety.
In recent years China has discovered huge mineral resources in Tibet, including tens of millions of tonnes of copper, lead and zinc, and billions of tonnes of iron ore.
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