At least one person was killed and several others injured in a landslide at a Hpakant jade mine in Kachin State, according to local police.
The incident took place around 6pm on Sunday at an excavation site operated by the Yadana Kyal jade mining company when the cliff of a mining pit collapsed, burying jade scavengers in debris and hurling rocks and stones in every direction.
Police superintendent Aung Zin Kyaw of the Seikmu police outpost said, “The cliff, which was about 100ft tall and 50ft wide, suddenly collapsed. One jade scavenger [unofficial miners who sift through pit debris searching for leftover jadeite] named U Aung Htay was buried and suffocated to death.”
He said that six other persons sustained non-critical injuries in the landslide.
Pye Nyein, the commander of the fire brigade in Hpakant, said a search and rescue operation was immediately launched and that those injured were taken to Hpakant hospital.
A video capturing the moment when the cliff came down appeared on the Kachin Jade Facebook page.
A villager in Hpakant told DVB the death toll has risen to two, as one of the patients at the hospital had died.
“The earth came crashing down into the water below, sending debris flying in the air. One person was buried and killed while another died later at the hospital,” said the villager.
He said the pit is unstable due to the constant practice of blast mining, and becomes even more prone to landslides as the monsoon season arrives.
In May 2016, a massive landslide incident in nearby Wheyhka left 13 persons confirmed dead. More than 100 were listed as missing, their bodies never accounted for.