MAGELANG, Indonesia — Disaster officials said eight people were found dead after being buried in a landslide Monday while excavating a sand pit on Indonesia’s main island of Java.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said rescuers retrieved the bodies of eight men and rescued eight other workers who were buried in the landslide in the Central Java district of Magelang.

Nugroho said hundreds of rescuers searched for victims buried under tons of debris in the sand pit. He said the number of missing was unclear.

But Edy Susanto, a local disaster official, said at least four villagers who worked at the sand quarry operated by private company PT Surya Karya Setiabudi were reportedly still missing.

Susanto said most of the victims were traditional miners who were working without contracts.

Nugroho said the search was halted due to darkness and officials did not hold out hope that any other victims would be found alive.

Flooding and landslides kill scores of people every year in Indonesia. Many disasters are blamed on deforestation caused by rampant illegal logging.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.