Man pulled out alive from China mudslide after three days

A man was pulled out alive from rubble in a southern Chinese city on Wednesday, more than 60 hours after a waste heap collapsed and buried dozens of buildings in mud and construction debris, state media said.

Tian Zeming, who was found at 3:30 a.m. (2.30 p.m. ET Tuesday), was in a coherent state but his legs had been crushed in Sunday’s landslide at an industrial park in Shenzhen, a boomtown near Hong Kong.

“He told the soldiers who rescued him, there is another survivor close by,” state news agency Xinhua said, although it later reported rescuers had found another body rather than a survivor.

That took the confirmed death toll to two. The government has said more than 70 people are missing in China’s latest industrial disaster, although the figure continues to be revised down as authorities make contact with people who were believed to have been buried but were not.

Firefighters had to squeeze into a narrow room around Tian and pull debris out by hand at the dump site in Hengtaiyu industrial park, rescuer Zhang Yabin told Xinhua.

Tian has had surgery and is in a stable condition in hospital, though he may lose a foot, the Xinhua report said.

With growing worries about China’s industrial safety standards and lack of oversight, Premier Li Keqiang ordered an investigation within hours of the mudslide. As authorities conduct rescue operations and investigate the disaster, work has sharply slowed in factories around the site.

Wang Yiwen, 49, who runs a factory near the dump, said he was losing 10,000 yuan ($1,545) a day.

“We cannot go out now. We cannot transfer the goods in and out (of this area),” said Wang. “There is no guarantee for our lives. So many workers have to eat. There is no power supply now.”

On Tuesday, police raided offices of the company that was managing the dump site, Shenzhen Yixianglong Investment Development.

Chinese news portals said police had taken away a deputy general manager named Yu Shengli. Calls to the company seeking comment went unanswered. Shenzhen police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.