Death toll revised down to three in quake at Yunnan mountain scenic area

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 September, 2013, 11:19am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 September, 2013, 4:58am

The death toll from an earthquake in southwest Yunnan province has been lowered to three, officials said yesterday, while 17 tourists were reported to have been rescued from a trapped bus.

Five people were originally reported dead in Saturday's magnitude 5.8 quake near the popular Shangri-La tourist area. But the Yunnan Earthquake Prevention and Disaster Reduction Bureau said yesterday that reports of two deaths were duplicated.

It said 40 people were injured, six seriously, but gave no figures for those missing or trapped.

The quake, on the border with Sichuan province, sparked landslides, blocked roads, trapped tourist buses, cut off communications and toppled or damaged tens of thousands of homes in the mountainous area.

The driver of a tour bus died after being struck by falling rocks, Xinhua reported. Seven tourists aboard four buses were injured and were being treated in hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Xinhua said yesterday. The China News Service reported yesterday that 17 tourists had been rescued from their buses. The nationalities of the tourists were not given.

The quake struck at approximately 8.05am in Benzilan town, Yunnan, the US Geological Survey said. It toppled 600 homes and damaged more than 55,000 others, Xinhua said.

Benzilan is 60 kilometres from Shangri-La county, named after the fictional mountain paradise in James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon. Local officials borrowed the name to attract more tourists to the area, which hosted about 7.6 million visitors last year. Shangri-La itself was little affected.