Indonesia landslide kills 17, leaves dozens missing
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Indonesia landslide kills 17, leaves dozens missing

45 people remain missing following landslide at illegal goldmine

Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo. (Google Maps)
Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo. (Google Maps)

JAKARTA - Indonesian rescuers resumed a search on Tuesday for 45 people still missing after a landslide at an illegal gold mine on Sulawesi island that killed at least 17 people, an official at the country's search and rescue agency said.

Torrential rain triggered the disaster on Sunday morning in the district of Suwawa in Gorontalo province, with the landslide engulfing miners and residents living nearby.

Salama, an official at Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said by telephone that rescue efforts had restarted on Tuesday after being temporarily halted on Monday due to heavy rain.

Nearly 400 people were involved in the rescue operation, aided by a helicopter, said Salama, who uses one name.

So far 52 people had been found alive, though the operation was being hampered by thick mud and with some rescuers having to walk more than 20 kilometres (12.43 miles) to reach the site of the disaster, he said.

Indonesia frequently suffers landslides, with the risk often increased by deforestation and small-scale illegal mining operations in remote districts that are difficult for authorities to regulate.

In May, flash floods and mudslides following heavy rain killed more than 50 people in Indonesia's West Sumatra province.

In April, a landslide caused by high-intensity rain in South Sulawesi killed at least 18 people. 

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