Scavenging Chinese boys buried by rubbish after waste heap collapses

Brothers aged 10 and 12 found dead after mountain of refuse collapses

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 7:34pm

Two young brothers who may have been scavenging in a landfill have been found dead after a pile of rubbish collapsed and buried them in a rural area of southwest China, according to local media reports.

Police and villagers in a mountainous remote village in Zhenxiong county, Yunnan province had been searching for the missing 10-year-old and 12-year-old boys since Tuesday, according to the report in the Legal Evening News.

After failing to find the brothers in the nearby mountains, rescuers and excavators found them buried at the landfill site near their village, Thursday’s report said.

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“The two kids used to play around the rubbish heap and look for toys, so we think they could be buried,” said a woman surnamed Luo who was identified in the report as an aunt of the victims.

She said the children had gone out to herd cows at around 11am on Tuesday, and the collapse happened around noon the same day, the newspaper reported.

After a two-day search, the body of the younger boy identified as Zhou Hong was found at around 11am on Thursday, and an hour later older brother Zhou Shuai was located, the report said.

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Zhou Gaozhong, their uncle, told the newspaper that the landfill had been used to dump household refuse from nearby towns for the past six years.

Zhou Gaocheng, the boys’ father, said there were no warning signs or protection fences around the landfill.

The local government said the county has been officially designated as impoverished, and the authorities lacked funds to properly process refuse from the area, the report said.

A state government report from 2016 said there were 73 counties in Yunnan province designated as “poor counties”.