10 dead in mine blasts, seven missing
Two mine accidents occurred in Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces on Tuesday, killing 10 miners and leaving seven missing, authorities said.
A fire in a sulfur mine in Chengcheng, Shaanxi province, killed 10 miners and injured nine.
The accident occurred at about 2 pm, trapping 27 miners underground.
A short time later, rescuers led 17 of the miners out of the pit. Nine of them suffered injuries and were sent to a hospital for treatment.
They were in stable condition, sources from the county government said.
The 10 trapped miners were found dead at about 7:20 am on Wednesday. The accident was caused by a cable that caught fire while the miners were repairing an air shaft.
Seven still missing
In Sichuan, seven people are still missing in the Shanmushu Coal Mine in Gongxian after a gas explosion at 12:52 am on Tuesday.
The accident occurred when workers were discharging gas in a pit.
“There were 273 people working underground. While 266 managed to leave the pit, seven remain missing,” said Xiao Qianchang, chief of the work safety bureau of the Sichuan Coal Group, which owns Shannushu Coal Mine.
Rescuers discharged flooded water in the pit on Wednesday and infused inert gases.
“It is aimed at lowering the temperature and getting rid of harmful gases such as gas and carbon monoxide in the pit. It will take nearly 20 hours to finish infusing inert gases before rescuers can enter the pit to search for the missing miners,” Xiao said.
Eight rescue teams with around 120 people and a medical team with more than 20 medics were waiting outside the pit.
The accident happened suddenly, said Zhou Guoming, a miner who escaped from the pit.
He entered the pit around 10:30 pm on Monday and drilled coal about 4,000 meters from the entrance to the pit. At around 3:30 am on Tuesday, he and his co-workers were asked to evacuate by the mine control center.
“The order came all of a sudden, and we did not know an accident had taken place,” he said.
Two hours later, Zhou and around 10 coworkers left the pit.
Experts were studying the cause of the gas explosion in the mine, which is owned by the State and has all the permits for coal production.