A group of their families stood on the bare, muddy shores of the lake as rescue crews in tight hats and high-vis jackets searched for water in boats after Wednesday’s crash, pictures posted on Facebook by the fire department said.
A body was recovered from the scene before rescue operations were halted as night fell, and another 50 people may have died unaccounted for, a fire department official at the scene told Reuters.
“It is very difficult to estimate how many people are missing, but we estimate that at least 50 people are missing, and their chances of survival are slim,” said Pyae Nyein, captain of the Hpakant Township’s fire department.
The Kutchin Network Development Foundation, a local civil society group involved in the rescue operation, estimates that about 80 people have gone missing after tearing down about 200 feet (60 meters) of rubbish piles.
Two other rescue workers at the scene said they feared the missing could die in the recent tragedy that has hit Myanmar’s poorly-organized jade industry.
The incident took place in the remote Hpakant area of Kutch state around 4 am local time, the fire department said.
Deadly landslides and other accidents are common in Hpakant, the center of Myanmar’s secret jade industry, which attracts poor workers from all over Myanmar in search of gems to export to China.
The media reported that at least 6 people were killed in a landslide last weekend.
The ousted government of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi promised to clean up the industry when she came to power in 2016, but activists say.
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