China: 4 found dead, 3 still missing at flooded coal mine

NANJING, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — At least four workers have been found dead at a flooded coal mine in eastern China, company officials told state-run media on Wednesday. Three other workers are believed to remain missing.

The accident occurred at around 5:37 p.m. local time on Tuesday when ten miners were working at the Kongzhuang Coal Mine in Peixian county of Jiangsu province, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. Three of the miners were able to escape, but seven others were trapped.

The Datun Coal and Power company, which owns the mine, told Xinhua that four of those trapped were found dead on early Wednesday morning. Xinhua’s report on Wednesday gave no indication if anyone was still missing, but an earlier report said seven people were missing before the four bodies were recovered.

On March 16, thirteen miners were killed when an elevator fell out of control and slammed into the bottom of the Shimen Iron Ore Mine in Lucheng township, which is located in Cangshan county in Shandong province. The accident occurred when a steel rope which was carrying the elevator broke, causing it to plummet to the bottom of the pit.

Safety conditions at mines in China have significantly improved in recent years but they remain among the world’s most dangerous with 1,083 fatalities in the first seven months of 2011 alone. There were 2,433 fatalities in 2010 and 2,631 in 2009.

China in recent years shut down scores of small mines to improve safety and efficiency in the mining industry. The country has also ordered all mines to build emergency shelter systems by June 2013 which are to be equipped with machines to produce oxygen and air conditioning, protective walls and airtight doors to protect workers against toxic gases and other hazardous factors.

The first manned test of such a permanent underground chamber was carried out in August 2011 when around 100 people – including managers, engineers, miners, medical staff, and the chamber’s developers – took part in a 48-hour test at a mine owned by the China National Coal Group in the city of Shuozhou in northern China’s Shanxi Province.

One of the worst mining accidents in China in recent years happened in November 2009 when 104 workers were killed after several explosions at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province.


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