China landslide kills 18 students at elementary school during holiday

Featured - October 5th, 2012

A fatal landslide in a mountainside town in China buried an elementary school, trapping students inside. All 18 children were confirmed dead early Friday, AFP reports.

According to state media, sustained rain triggered the landslide which engulfed the school and three farmhouses in the village of Zhenhe in Yunnan province. Sixteen children were confirmed dead Thursday but that figure was later brought up to 18 as rescuers pulled the body of the last missing child from the debris early Friday, China National Radio said. A local villager is still missing and has yet to be found by rescuers.

Questions on the presence of children at the school arose amid China’s week-long national holiday. Local officials told AFP that the students needed to make up lost time for classes due to the earthquakes last month which killed 81 people. State-run Xinhua news agency reported that the students were from another school that was heavily damaged in the earthquake and had to go to the school in Yunnan to study.