SW China mine accident kills 17, injures 6

Seventeen people have been confirmed dead and six others injured in a coal mine accident in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, authorities said early Thursday.

A total of 66 miners were working underground when an accident of coal and gas outburst happened around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday in a shaft of the Shangchang Coal Mine in Huangheni Township of Fuyuan County, according to sources with the county government.

Sixteen miners were killed on the spot and one died on the way to the hospital, according to the sources.

Six of 49 miners who survived the accident were injured and sent to a local hospital. They are currently in stable conditions, the sources said.

Some 115 km away from the government seat of Fuyuan County, the coal mine was put into operation in Aug. 2007 with an annual capacity of 90,000 tonnes and an exploitable reserve of 11.93 million tonnes.

A preliminary investigation showed that the mine was fully licensed.

The government of Qujing City, which administers Fuyuan County, has ordered a thorough safety check among all coal mines in the city and overhaul of those with safety hazard.

A further investigation into the cause of the accident is under way.

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