At least 10 people were killed and five others injured when a landslide hit a marble excavation site in Salarzai area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Buner district on Saturday.

According to KP Relief Department, more than 30 labourers were working at the marble mine in Bampokha village when portions of it collapsed, burying the workers under marble slabs and mounds of earth. Around a dozen labourers are still feared to be trapped under the rubble while a rescue operation is underway to recover them.

Soon after the incident, both police and rescue officials, along with the local residents, rushed to the spot and started rescue and relief works. They pulled out 14 labourers trapped under the rubble. However, 10 of them could not survive the incident, with four others sustaining serious injuries.

The bodies and the injured were rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital Daggar, while some of the injured were also shifted to Swat Medical Complex and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. On-duty doctors confirmed that out of the five injured, four were in a critical condition while one received minor injuries.

A statement issued by the relief department said the deputy commissioner has contacted the director general mining to dispatch a technical team for the assessment of the area where people are feared to be trapped. "There is a risk of further sliding because it is the vulnerable area/portion of the mountain ... this could further escalate sliding risk while carrying out the rescue operation," the statement added.

According to the relief department, police personnel, volunteer organisations and local community members are helping with the rescue operation. The requisite machinery and ambulances are also available at the scene.

KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, taking notice of the incident, directed one of his aides, Riyaz Khan, to visit the site at the earliest. "We stand with the affected families in this hour of grief," he said in a statement, and directed the officials concerned to expedite the rescue efforts and use all resources available to ensure swift recovery of those still trapped in the rubble.

The Salarzai Bampokha region is rich in marble resources, which are transported to parts of KP in large quantities. According to locals, these marble mines fulfil about 70 per cent requirement of the rock across the country. The landowners, leaseholders and agents earn billions of rupees but the labourers are often exposed to threats during mining, locals say.