Casket Slides Down Hill Onto Pallbearers Below, Three People Hospitalized

Three pallbearers were hospitalized after a casket they were carrying slid down a hill and landed on them during a funeral procession in a Chinese village.

The accident happened on Thursday in Dahe, Yiliang County, in China's southwestern province of Yunnan. The remains of a 73-year-old village elder were being carried up a steep hill to a cemetery.

According to Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper The Beijing News, the villager had been cremated the day before and was to be buried inside the heavy casket, which weighed roughly 550 pounds.

The elder was the mother of a resident who was identified only by the last name Qiu. The location of the burial site, although difficult to access, was chosen because of its auspicious orientation while taking into account the laws of feng shui, the paper said.

Residents of Dahe were in the process of completing the customary procession up the mountainous village path when a rope snapped as they attempted to hoist the casket above a steep hill, Sichuan–based Red Star News said.

Footage of the incident being widely circulated on social media platforms such as Weibo and Douyin—the Chinese version of TikTok—show at least a dozen villagers standing around the casket as the elder's remains are being lifted.

But when one of the ropes appears to give way, the heavy casket slides down the hill and lands on three pallbearers, one of whom is pinned underneath the box, the video shows.

In the cell phone video, several more villagers can be seen tumbling off the narrow dirt footpath as the casket comes down.

Red Star News said nearby villagers helped lift the casket off the pallbearer, who was able to stand up and walk after the incident. The three injured villagers were taken to a local hospital for treatment and were still recovering.

None suffered any life-threatening injuries during the accident.

A spokesperson for Yiliang County People's Government confirmed details of the accident to the Chengdu news outlet on Wednesday. The public affairs official said relevant departments in local government would investigate.

Members of the Qiu family have yet to give statements about the incident to local media.

China funeral
File photo: A traditional Chinese funeral procession in the early 20th century. Culture Club/Getty Images