At least 59 people were buried by a landslide Friday in the southwestern Chinese iron mining region of Chongqing, safety officials said.
Those buried included 50 miners and nine residents of remote Tiekuang, or "iron mine," township, said an official with the Chongqing work safety supervision bureau, who would give only his surname, Dong, because he was not authorized to speak to media.
Dong said the landslide did not appear to be related to mining activities.
A Chongqing government spokesman said the landslide happened at about 3:00 p.m. (0700 GMT) and rescue crews were on the scene. The spokesman, who would give only his surname, Zhou, said he didn't know if anyone had been pulled out alive.
Calls to the local government and mining company offices were not answered or would not go through because lines were down.
The area where the accident occurred in Chongqing's Wulong county lies deep in the hills about 90 miles from Chongqing's urban center. Densely populated Chongqing is rich in iron ore, natural gas and other mineral resources, and industrial accidents frequently strike the area.
Similar landslides have been reported around China, including one last year where at least 277 people were killed when a shoddy holding reservoir burst and a three-story wave of mud and iron-mining waste inundated a valley in Shanxi province in northern China.