"It's the biggest landslide to hit this area since the Wenchuan earthquake," Wang Yongbo, an official leading one of the rescue efforts, told state broadcaster China Central Television.

The provincial government said more than 120 people were buried by the landslide. CCTV cited a rescuer as saying five bodies had been found.

The landslide, which came from a mountain, engulfed a cluster of 62 homes and a hotel in the village of Xinmo in Mao County at about 6 a.m., the Sichuan provincial government said. Officials said 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) of road were buried in the disaster.

Rescuers pulled out three people, two of whom had survived, the official Sichuan Daily newspaper said on its microblog. The paper also said a family of three, including a month-old baby, managed to escape just as the landslide started to hit their house.

Qiao Dashuai told CCTV that the baby saved the family because he was woken up by the child's crying and was going to change the baby's diaper when he heard a noise that alerted him to the landslide.

"We heard a strange noise at the back of our house, and it was rather loud," Qiao said. "Wind was coming into the room so I wanted to close the door. When we came out, water flow swept us away instantly." He said they struggled against the flood of water until they met medical workers who took them to a hospital. Qiao said his parents and other relatives had not been found.

Mao County, or Maoxian, sits on the eastern margin of the Tibetan plateau and is home to about 110,000 people, according to the government's website. Most residents are of the Qiang ethnic minority. The village is known locally for tourism, and Chinese reports said it was unclear if tourists were among those buried by the landslide.