Mine blast kills 13 in China, 2 missing (China)

BEIJING, Sept. 2 (UPI) — A coal mine explosion in China Sunday killed at least 13 people, only days after another disaster, the worst this year, killed 45 miners, officials said.

The latest incident occurred in the Gaokeng Coal Mine of Pingxiang city in eastern Jiangxi province, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rescue headquarters officials said there were 38 miners in the underground mine when there was an explosion just after noon, which left 13 of them dead and two more missing.

The other 23 miners either escaped on their own or were pulled out by rescuers. Two were later hospitalized.

As in the case of the earlier mine tragedy, rescuers looking for the two missing miners in the Jiangxi province disaster were hampered by high temperatures, low visibility and high concentration of flammable gas in the disabled mine’s tunnel, officials said.

The Pingxiang Mining Bureau is affiliated with the state-owned Jiangxi Coal Group Corp., Xinhua reported, adding authorities were investigating the cause of the explosion.

In the other disaster, which occurred last Wednesday, the Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in Panzhihua City in Sichuan province was hit by a gas explosion, trapping 46 miners.

Authorities Monday reported 45 of them were confirmed dead, while one more remained missing with rescuers continuing to look for him, Xinhua reported.

A total of 154 miners were working underground at the time of the blast, Xinhua reported.

Among the survivors, 54 were injured, 17 of them seriously, Xinhua said.

The official news agency said an initial investigation indicated chaotic management and ignorance of mine safety rules in the mine were mainly to blame for the disaster. Some of the mine owners have been arrested by police. The Chinese Cabinet has set up a team to look in the incident, described as the worst this year.

The Xiaojiawan Coal Mine, with an annual output of about 100,000 tons, began operation in March of last year and was given a safety license in December, China Daily reported, quoting state work safety administration officials.

Coal mine accidents in China take a heavy toll every year despite stringent safety regulations. Official figures showed gas explosions alone were responsible for 41 coal mine accidents this year as of July, resulting in the deaths of 149 miners. Other mine accidents have claimed dozens more lives.



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