China landslide kills 37 tourists, 15 Brits missing


CHENGDU, China — Thirty-seven tourists were killed when their coach was buried in a landslide after a massive earthquake in southwest China while separately officials said they had lost contact with 15 British tourists, state media reported Tuesday.

The coach was buried by a landslide in Maoxian county in Tibetan-populated Aba prefecture in Sichuan province, Xinhua news agency said, quoting a spokesman with the provincial emergency management office.

Separately, the spokesman said about 15 Britons were among 2,000 tourists stranded in Aba prefecture and out of contact, it said.

He said the British tourists were probably in Wolong, home to the famed Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre.

The centre is in mountainous Wenchuan county which was at the epicentre of the massive 7.8 magnitude quake which hit Monday.

All communication linking the centre to the outside world was cut after the earthquake hit, a State Forestry Administration official told Xinhua late Monday.

Giant pandas are considered national treasures in China. The animals are notoriously poor breeders and have fast become one of the most endangered creatures in the world.