A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck Taxkorgan County in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region early on Thursday (11 May) morning killing eight people and injuring nearly 11.

Authorities said search and rescue work was underway and the injured were being treated at hospitals.

Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported that the epicentre of the quake that struck at 5.58am local time (10.58pm BST previous day) was in the southeast part of the Pamir Plateau. The quake that hit a remote mountainous region in Kashgar Prefecture had a depth of about 8.0 km, it added.

Citing witnesses, the news agency wrote that the quake was followed by multiple aftershocks.

Taxkorgan County is located about 1,250km from Xinjiang province's capital, Urumqi. The county borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Associated Press cited the Xinjiang Earthquake Administration as saying that more than 180 houses collapsed in the lightly populated area. The mountainous county reportedly has a population of 33,000.

About two years ago, the Xinjiang province was hit by a stronger earthquake that caused heavy damage to property. The 6.5 magnitude quake struck Pishan county in the Hotan region of Xinijang, leaving some six people dead and destroying nearly 3,000 homes.