AT LEAST 162 DEAD IN MYANMAR JADE MINE COLLAPSE
A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed at least 162 people, with more feared dead, authorities said on Thursday, after a heap of mining waste collapsed into a lake and buried many workers under mud and water, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Reuters earlier placed the death toll at 126.
The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state - the center of Myanmar’s secretive jade industry - when the “muddy wave” crashed onto them, after heavy rain, the fire service department said in a Facebook post.
By late afternoon rescue workers had recovered 126 bodies, the department said, but more were missing. “Other bodies are in the mud,” Tar Lin Maung, a local official with the information ministry, told Reuters by phone. “The numbers are going to rise.”
Deadly landslides and other accidents are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant, which draw impoverished workers from across Myanmar in search of gems mostly for export to China. But Thursday’s accident was the worst in over five years. About 100 people were killed in a 2015 collapse which strengthened calls to regulate the industry. Another 50 died in 2019.