Flood waters threaten rescue of 18 miners trapped in NE China colliery
TONGHUA, Jilin, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — Rescuers are racing to save 18 miners trapped in a coal mine that flooded due to a deluge that hit the area in northeast China’s Jilin Province shortly after midnight Tuesday.
More than 2,000 rescuers are pumping water out of the mine through an auxiliary shaft after the entrance of the main shaft collapsed amid rain-triggered floods.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has instructed the local government and other related departments to spare no effort in saving the miners’ lives.
The accident happened at 12:10 a.m. at Hongyuan Coal Mine in the Erdaojiang District of Tonghua, the third largest city in Jilin, said Zhang Dejun, a spokesman for the city government.
He said the miners were working below ground to pull out machinery that had been soaked after days of torrential rain, when the flooding occurred.
The mine was near the lower reaches of Daluoquangou River, which is swollen after the catchment received 116.2 millimeters of rain Monday.
“Time is very pressing,” Zhang said.
Wang Rulin, governor of Jilin Province, arrived at the scene at noon Tuesday to oversee the rescue. Wang visited the families of the trapped miners to hear rescuers’ and experts’ reports.
The Hongyuan Coal Mine has an annual production capacity of 60,000 tonnes and is a township-owned mine. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
Jilin Province has been battered by heavy rain and floods this summer. At least 85 people have died and 66 are missing after floods over the past two months, according to the provincial government.