According to state media, China has verified that 53 people were murdered when a coal mine partially collapsed in the northern Inner Mongolia area in February.
At the open-pit mine in the isolated Alxa League, a 180 meter-high (590 foot) slope came way, burying people and cars below, leaving dozens of people missing.
Six survivors and six dead were first extracted by rescuers from the rubble, but officials withheld any additional information for months.
Citing the regional emergency agency, state television CCTV said on Wednesday that 47 people who were listed as missing following the incident “had been confirmed to have no vital signs.”
“The search and rescue work has now finished,” CCTV said, adding that “the large-scale collapse on February 22… killed 53 people”.
In a sign of the incident’s severity, Chinese President Xi Jinping at the time ordered authorities to “do everything possible to search for and rescue the missing people… and protect the security of people’s lives and property as well as overall social stability”.
According to local government announcements, authorities sent hundreds of employees and more than 100 pieces of equipment as part of the rescue operation.
The economy of the sparsely populated Alxa League is heavily dependent on mining and other extractive industries.
In recent years, both mine safety and media coverage of significant incidents—many of which were previously ignored—have improved in China.
However, accidents continue to happen often in a sector where safety standards are frequently inadequate, particularly at the most basic facilities.