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July 23, 2019

Three killed, 51 missing after lake collapses at Phakant jade mine

Rescue workers search for the bodies of miners killed in a landslide in Phakant, Kachin State. Photo: Win Naing (Kachin Land)
Rescue workers search for the bodies of miners killed in a landslide in Phakant, Kachin State. Photo: Win Naing (Kachin Land)

Three people were killed and 51 people were feared dead after a lake collapsed, triggering a mudslide that buried workers and machinery from two mining companies at a jade mining block in Phakant yesterday.
About 20 minutes after midnight yesterday, a five-acre wide and 100-foot deep lake, located in a block owned by Unity Company, collapsed, pouring mud into a jade block, where more than 50 miners from two mining companies were working the night shift. The landslide created a ‘mud lake’, burying workers and mining equipment.
“We recovered two bodies in the morning and one more body in the evening. Fifty-one miners are still missing. We are also carrying out preventive measures in possible areas where the mine walls can breach,” said U Phone Garein, the Deputy Head of the Phakant Township General Administration Department.
According to the authorities, 26 workers and five backhoes from the Golden Nine Dragons Company, and 28 workers, 11 backhoes, 10 tracks, and five mining machines from the Myanmar Thura Company were buried in the mudslide.
As the accident happened at night, there were no migrant miners among the victims, said officials.
“Finding bodies is proving difficult. About 60 volunteers from our philanthropic association are participating in the search for bodies,” said U Khin Maung, chairman, Thingaha Philanthropic Association, Seikmu Village. Officials from the Phakant Township Police and administration department are supervising the rescue operations there. — Win Naing (Kachin Land) (Translated by Tun Tun Naing)

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