Landslide buries village in Sichuan Province, amid fears that a dam is at risk of collapsing with the forecast of more heavy downpours.
More than 140 people are feared buried under tonnes of rock and mud after a landslide struck in south-western China at around 6 am local time on Saturday.
An estimated 105 million cubic feet of rock and mud slid from high up the remote mountainous area near to Tibet and engulfed more than 40 homes and a hotel in the village of Xinmo in Maoxian county, Sichuan Province.
The landslide is believed to have been caused by heavy downpours, has blocked nearly a mile-long stretch of road and part of a nearby river.
The area is also prone to earthquakes.
Local officials in charge of rescue efforts described it as the worst disaster in the region since the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 when an 8.0 magnitude tremor killed nearly 70,000 people.
Only three people were reported to have been rescued, with 141 still missing.
A couple and their one-month-old baby are said to have escaped just as the landslide hit their house.
More than 400 rescue workers are frantically scouring the site for other survivors, with China’s president Xi Jinping calling on them to “spare no effort”.
TV footage showed police and residents pulling on ropes in a bid to dislodge huge boulders, with bulldozers and large diggers also working to remove the massive rocks.
Water thick with mud was seen flowing over the site.
More heavy rain is forecast in parts of Sichuan Province, amid fears a dam is at risk of collapsing.