China Three Gorges landslide kills one, two missing

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BEIJING, Nov 21 (Reuters) A landslide near China's huge Three Gorges Dam trapped four workers, killing one, state media reported, in the wake of official angst over environmental fallout from the controversial project.

The landslide hit last morning in the central province of Hubei, beside a half-completed railway line near the 660-km dam reservoir, Xinhua news agency reported.

The workers were perched on scaffolding next to a tunnel in Badong County when buried by collapsing earth, the report said.

One was killed, another injured and two remained missing.

The slide also severed a nearby highway and appeared to be the latest reminder of geological threats around the rising dam.

Badong is one of the hilly areas along the reservoir that locals recently told Reuters has seen more landslides and tremours since the water level reached 156 metres above sea level last year, increasing pressure on brittle slopes.

Construction of the dam began in 1994 following years of controversy over the plan, which environmental critics call a dangerous folly.

If all goes to plan, it will reach its maximum capacity of 39.3 billion cubic meters of water by the end of 2008.

REUTERS DKS BST0554

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