Coal mine fire leaves 12 dead in east China

This photo taken on Jan. 9, 2010, shows a part of Miaoshang Coal Mine in Yushui District of Xinyu City, east China's Jiangxi Province.

NANCHANG, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — A coal mine fire has left 12 workers dead in east China’s Jiangxi Province, and police are hunting several mine executives who had fled, local authorities said Saturday. The accident took place at about 4 p.m. Friday at the Miaoshang Coal Mine in Yushui District, in Xinyu City, the district government said in a statement.

The victims’ bodies were retrieved Saturday morning, the statement said.

“An initial investigation indicates the fire was caused by short circuit of underground cables,” it said.

Police officers keep order at Miaoshang Coal Mine in Yushui District of Xinyu City, east China's Jiangxi Province, Jan. 9, 2010.

Altogether 14 miners were working underground when the accident happened, of whom only two managed to escape, said Xu Wenpo, of the rescue headquarters, Saturday.

“The fire ignited wooden supporting structure underground, leading to the generation of harmful gases and tunnel collapse. That has added difficulties for rescue,” he said.

The privately-owned coal mine, founded in 1995, reports an annual output capacity of 60,000 tonnes.

“The bank accounts of five coal mine shareholders have been frozen, and police are hunting the mine head and other executives who had fled after the accident,” Xu said.

The Xinyu municipal government has ordered all mines in the city to suspend operation for safety checks, he said. Local work safety and police are further investigating the accident, he added.


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