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50 believed dead in mudslide at jade mine in Myanmar: lawmaker says

50 believed dead in mudslide at jade mine in Myanmar: lawmaker says
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Heavy earth moving equipment works on a jade mountain in Hpakant area of Kachin State, Northern Myanmar on Sept. 16 2015. (AP / Esther Htsusan)

Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:12AM EDT

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar -- More than 50 people are believed to have died in a mudslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, a lawmaker representing the area said Tuesday.

Tin Soe said three bodies have been recovered and 54 people remain missing after the accident Monday night in the Hpakant area of Kachin state.

"The rescue process will not be easy as they re under the mud, not just ordinary soil. It is really difficult to get the bodies back," he said.

The mud flowed down on the workers from a collapsed reservoir made from a disused mining pit to contain materials discarded from the mining process.

The landscape in the area is extremely uneven, with mountains of debris and valleys formed from abandoned mines.

The mud covered not only the workers but also mining equipment, including bulldozers and backhoes, from the Myanmar Thuya Co. and 9 Dragons Co.

Tin Soe said the missing were buried under mud up to 100 feet (30 metres) deep.

"There is no machine to pump out the mud," he said by phone. "It could cost millions of dollars."
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