Seven Chinese miners die (China)

Four miners have been lifted to safety in central China, while seven workers in another mine have been killed by a burst of gas.

A coal mine safety bureau official in central Hunan province said four miners were lifted to the ground early on Sunday in Leiyang city.

The rescue of the fourth miner was shown live on state broadcaster CCTV’s news channel.

Rescuers in orange suits and helmets lifted out the man on a stretcher past an applauding crowd of workers and rescuers.

At another coal mine in the same province, a gas explosion killed seven workers on Sunday morning in the city of Lianyuan, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Thirty-nine other workers managed to escape and an investigation into the cause of the accident is under way, the report said.

The Leiyang mine flood had trapped 16 workers on Wednesday and 11 of them were confirmed alive on Saturday, said the provincial official.

Many of the miners still underground were injured and receiving first aid treatment from medical personnel who had entered the pit with stretchers and equipment, according to Xinhua.

The flood in the coal mine occurred when 40 miners were working underground, and two dozen escaped, Xinhua said.

But managers of the mine failed to report the accident in the required time, causing rescue efforts to be delayed at least 12 hours, the agency reported. Mine managers often do so to buy time and avoid punishment by either rescuing miners themselves or covering up the accident.

The survivors have been sent to hospital while the mine owner, Liu Yaping, is under police custody, Xinhua said.

Mine floods usually occur when miners drill through to an abandoned shaft that has been allowed to fill with water. Along with gas explosions and cave-ins, they make China’s coal mines the world’s deadliest, although the death rate has fallen.

Safety improvements have cut annual fatalities by about one-third from a high of 6995 in 2002.


About this entry