Survival chances slim for 13 trapped miners in central China

Xinhua – China
March 23, 2009

CHANGNING, Hunan — Rescuers said survival chances are slim for 13 miners who have been trapped in a flooded mine for more than 50 hours in central China’s Hunan Province. Rescuers added two more pumps to get the water out but it only dropped 50.5 cm from late Sunday night till about 9 a.m. Monday. That’s compared with a 5.6-meter drop on Sunday, said Yan Yinchu, deputy director of Hunan Provincial Work Safety Administration. Experts estimated that floodwater in the mine could reach more than 200,000 cubic meters. The mine’s complicated terrain and accumulation of debris had also made the rescue more difficult, he said. More than 100 rescuers and volunteer miners are continuing their efforts to rescue the trapped. Local police were required to identify the 13 trapped miners as soon as possible. The flood occurred around 5 p.m. Saturday in a private mine in Sanjiaotang Township, Changning City. The mine was in the process of merging with another mine and was closed down by the local work safety administration on March 7. However, illegal production began days after a check by authorities on March 16 to make sure the mine was still closed, said Li Yuechu, an information official of Changning. The mine managers fled the scene without reporting the accident to local authorities. Peng Qingchun and Liao Lunsheng, shareholders of the mine, were captured.

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