At least five people are dead and 48 are missing after a coal mine collapsed in northern China on Wednesday.
The incident took place in the early afternoon after a mine in Inner Mongolia’s Alxa League collapsed and left dozens trapped under the landslide. A second and third landslide several hours later suspended rescue efforts until the next morning.
On Wednesday evening, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered immediate search and rescue efforts.
“We must make every possible effort to rescue the missing persons and treat the injured,” Xi said.
State broadcaster Xinhua News Agency reported that more than 900 rescuers, along with heavy machinery and medical workers, have been deployed to help search for the missing miners.
Security camera footage distributed by Chinese state media captured the moment the landslide took place.
In the video, an avalanche of dirt, rock and debris can be seen cascading down the mountain and burying trucks and equipment below.
According to Reuters, one hospitalized miner recounted the incident to state media broadcaster CCTV on Thursday:
I had just started work at 1:15 in the afternoon when I realized that rocks were falling from the mountain I saw that the situation was getting more and more serious, and an evacuation was organized, but it was too late, the mountain just collapsed.
Wei Zhiguo, who is leading rescue efforts, told CCTV that the rescue operation was being conducted in “an orderly and tense manner.”
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation.
The company operating the mine, Inner Mongolia Xinjing Coal Industry Co., has not released a statement regarding the collapse.