Accidents, extreme weather and disasters in China
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Visitors scramble to leave the area after authorities issued an imminent heavy rain warning in Pengzhou, Sichuan. Photo: Weibo

7 dead in southwestern China tourist spot as mountain rains trigger flash flood

  • Water flow in lower reaches of river in Pengzhou city increased in just 10 to 20 seconds, state-owned China National Radio reports
  • Extreme weather is affecting huge swathes of China, with torrential downpours or heatwaves forecast for various regions
Seven people have been killed in southwestern China when a flash flood triggered by mountain rains hit a popular tourist spot.

Workers and volunteers mobilised to urge people to leave the area after receiving an imminent heavy rain warning about 2.40pm on Saturday, the emergency management bureau in Pengzhou city of Sichuan province said.

Videos posted on social media showed people scrambling to flee, but some were caught when a torrent of water came rushing down a river about 50 minutes later.

Tourists at the scenic spot in Pengzhou city. Photo: Weibo

One man at the scene said several people were washed away, including some children, when the water flow in the lower reaches of the river suddenly increased in just 10 to 20 seconds, the state-owned China National Radio reported.

The Chengdu city government said on Sunday that seven people had died and three others were hospitalised with minor injuries. Pengzhou is a tourist spot about 70km (45 miles) north of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

A video showed a helicopter rescuing a person stranded on a small outcrop by descending to just above the water so they could climb in.

A boulder offers defence against the raging waters. Photo: Weibo

Elsewhere in China, heavy rain left streets flooded in the northwestern city of Xining on Saturday night. Heavy to torrential downpours were also forecast for the northeast from Sunday to Monday afternoon, with 10 to 18 centimetres expected in parts of Liaoning and Jilin provinces.

Meanwhile, a heatwave continues to affect a wide swathe of southern China, with highs on Sunday forecast to be 35 to 39 degrees Celsius (95 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit), possibly surpassing 40 degrees in some places, including Shanghai in the east.

The eastern province of Jiangsu warned that road surface temperatures could rise to 72 degrees, raising the risk of flat tyres, state broadcaster CCTV reported.