Twenty people have been confirmed dead and eight remain missing following an avalanche in Tibet that buried multiple vehicles in deep snow and ice on a section of road connected to a highway tunnel.

Images on Chinese state media on Friday showed rescue workers digging with mechanical diggers in deep snow to locate vehicles that were buried

when the avalanche hit a road and highway tunnel connecting the city of Nyingchi in Tibet’s southwest with outlying Medog county.

As of Friday, 20 people were reported to have died and eight are still missing, according to the state-run Global Times news outlet.

A further 53 people have been rescued so far since the avalanche which took place at about 8pm (12:00 GMT) on Tuesday

on a section of road between Pai village in Mainling county and the Doxong La tunnel in Medog county, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Five of the survivors were seriously injured, it reported. Chinese authorities say some 1,000 rescue workers and dozens of emergency vehicles have been deployed to the site of the disaster.