Five killed in coalmine accident in NE China

HARBIN, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Rescuers have retrieved five bodies in a collapsed coalmine in Heilongjiang Province after more than three weeks of searching efforts, the local government said Saturday. They were still trying to locate the 18 missing workers in Xinyongfeng coalmine in Jixi City, according to the municipal government.

The mine shaft caved in at 11:30 p.m. on July 22 amid a downpour when 24 miners were working underground. Water and mud gushed into the pit, trapping 23 workers.

A miner named Song Xiuzhao came out of the mine with a stomachache at 10 p.m. on the day of the accident.

Song said he was near the mine entrance when he heard a great noise and then saw a huge cave appear several hundred meters away.

The cave is about 50 meters long, 60 meters wide and 10 meters deep. Rescuers estimated that 30,000 cubic meters of soil had subsided.

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