Man rescued from China mudslide after three days
RESCUERS scrabbling through the debris of the three-day-old mudslide in southern China's Shenzhen city discovered a young man alive in the rubble yesterday.
Tian Zeming, 19, survived for almost 72 hours on melon seeds and pomelos that had been buried alongside him when the huge waste dump in an abandoned quarry site collapsed and crushed 33 buildings in Shenzhen's Hengtaiyu industrial park on Sunday, rescuers were quoted as saying.
"He has a very strong will to survive," the emergency team's leader told the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily newspaper.
Mr Tian had used a rock to tap on debris to try to attract the attention of those looking for signs of life in the sea of mud and debris, reported Agence France-Presse.
He was confirmed to be one of the 76 listed as officially missing after the disaster, the Guangdong province fire department said.
Mr Tian has had surgery and is in a stable condition in hospital, although he may lose a foot, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
A second man who was also found alive in the debris early yesterday died several hours later.
An additional body was recovered yesterday afternoon, bringing the confirmed death toll to three.
The number of deaths was expected to rise sharply after the so-called "golden period" - the 72-hour window when survival chances are high - passed.
The mudslide was caused by the improper storage of waste from construction sites, said the official newspaper of the Ministry of Land and Resources.
Soil was illegally piled 100m high at the Hongao quarry and had turned to mud during the rain on Sunday morning, said the Global Times.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, has set up a team to investigate the disaster.
Documents on the website of Guangming New District, where the mudslide occurred, show that authorities were aware of problems with the storage and had urged corrective action as early as July.
In September, the Shenzhen government issued a warning, calling for the dumping to stop as the site's permit to receive waste had expired.
Meanwhile, Chinese experts argued that the disaster should be called "wasteslide" as the mud contains all sorts of construction waste.
The dump had collapsed because the barricades put up had failed to hold the highest layer of waste and the site's drainage system was faulty, researcher Su Dechen of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences wrote in a science website.