The death toll in an avalanche that buried vehicles outside a highway tunnel in Tibet has risen to 13 with rescue efforts continuing, authorities said Friday.
Images from the scene at the exit of the tunnel connecting the city of Nyingchi in Tibet's southwest with outlying Medog county showed about half a dozen backhoes digging through snow up to 3 metres (10 feet) deep.
Tons of snow and ice collapsed onto the mouth of the tunnel on Tuesday evening, trapping drivers in their vehicles. Many of them were headed home for China's Lunar New Year holiday that starts Sunday.
Authorities say some 1,000 rescuers and dozens of emergency vehicles have taken part in the effort, with the central government's Ministry of Emergency Management sending a team to assist.
Nyingchi lies at an elevation of about 3,040 metres (9,974 feet), about five hours' drive from the regional capital Lhasa along a highway opened in 2018. Nighttime temperatures during winter routinely drop well below freezing.
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