TOKYO, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Search and rescue operations are continuing after a landslide buried houses on Wednesday morning in Oita Prefecture, southwestern Japan, leaving one person dead and five others unaccounted for.
Municipal officials in the city of Nakatsu confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that rescue officials had recovered the body of a 45-year-old man.
Emergency operations are continuing to locate at least five others still unaccounted for, aged between 21 and 90, who lived in three of the four houses engulfed by the massive landslide.
According to police and government officials in the city of Nakatsu, three houses in the town of Yabakei were engulfed by a landslide after a mountain slope collapsed at around 3:50 a.m. local time Wednesday morning.
The landslide is believed to have slid around 100 meters, with geological experts saying it might have been triggered by past rainfall or underground water.
The collapsed slope, which was covered in trees, according to local police, was about 200 meters wide and 100 meters high.
Local rescue officials have been using heavy machinery to shift the soil to access the accident site, which caused a road leading to the houses to be blocked.
Around 200 firefighters and police officers have been involved in the search and rescue mission, alongside Ground Self-Defense Force personnel (GSDF).
The GSDF troops were asked to assist by the Oita prefectural government.