More than 100 people were killed after a landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar trapped workers under a mound of refuse on Thursday.
Myanmar’s fire service department in a facebook post said the rescuers have recovered bodies of at least 113 miners so far.
“Other bodies are in the mud,” a report quoted Tar Lin Maung, a local official with the information ministry, as saying.
“The numbers are going to rise,” the official added.
The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state when a ‘muddy wave’ caused by heavy rain buried them, the reports quoted the country’s fire service department as stating on its facebook page.
Landslides are common in the mines of Hpakant, but Thursday’s incident has been reported as the worst in more than five years.
In 2015, about 100 people were reportedly killed in a collapse.
According to reports, in the recent year, scores of people have died in the area, many of whom are freelance “jade pickers” who scour tailings – the residue from mining – for stones that have been missed by larger operators.
Official sales of jade in Myanmar were worth $750 million in 2016-17, according to data published by the government as part of an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
But experts believe the true value of the industry, which mainly exports to China, is much larger.