17 dead in China mine blasts

Seventeen coal miners have been killed and six others trapped in two gas explosions in China, state media said Monday, in the latest accidents to strike the country’s notoriously dangerous mining sector.

A dozen workers were killed in a blast late Sunday at the Donggou coal mine in the city of Jiexiu in northern Shanxi province, China’s coal-producing heartland, Xinhua news agency quoted local authorities as saying.

The accident happened after the workers “violated a safety rule” by demolishing a wall between the shaft and a disused area of the mine where gas had accumulated, a spokesman for the local work safety administration said.

Police have so far detained five mine executives over the incident, Xinhua said.

Four people were hospitalised for injuries suffered in the blast, but their condition was unknown, the report said.

In the second incident in southwest Yunnan province’s Shuangbai county, five workers were killed and six were still missing after a blast at the Malishu coal mine on Monday, Xinhua said.

Rescuers were working to locate the missing workers still trapped in the mine.

China’s coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with safety often ignored in the quest for profits and a drive to meet surging demand for coal, the source of about 70 percent of the country’s energy.

Thousands of miners are reportedly killed in accidents every year. Last month, 108 miners were killed in a gas explosion at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China.



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