An Afghan official says at least 30 villagers searching for gold in a riverbed perished in a flash flood in northeastern Badakhshan province.

Nek Mohammad Nazari, spokesman for the provincial governor, says dozens were injured as a landslide and flash flood engulfed the river on Sunday morning in Kohistan district. The area is about 110 kilometers, or 68 miles, from Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan.

Nazari says the villagers had dug deep in the river, which had in the past been mined for gold, when they were caught in the flash flood.

He added that the casualty numbers could rise.

Another official, Fawzia Kofi, a lawmaker form Badakhshan, gave a higher death toll, saying 40 were killed.

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