China mine explosion kills 21
BEIJING: An explosion on Friday killed 21 workers at a coal mine in China’s western Xinjiang province, reports said.
The blast occurred at the Baiyanggou coal mine at 1:26am (1756 GMT Thursday), the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the local regional emergency response office.
According to the report, 34 miners were working underground at the time of the explosion. Twelve workers managed to escape but 22 were trapped by the blast. Only one of the trapped miners survived the explosion.
Mining accidents are common in China, which is the world’s largest consumer of coal and where mine operators often skirt safety regulations.
In 2012, 1,384 people were killed in coal mining accidents in the country, according to official figures, down from 1,973 in 2011.
Some rights groups argue that the actual figure is significantly higher due to underreporting by mining companies.
In an effort to address mine safety concerns, state officials last year moved to shut more than 600 small mines, which are deemed more dangerous than larger ones.
But high-profile accidents have continued this year. In May, more than 50 miners were killed in two accidental explosions in Sichuan and Guizhou provinces in the southwest, after a blast at a coal mine in the northeastern province of Jilin in March killed 28 people.
On the same day a huge landslide crashed down a mountainside in Tibet, entombing 83 workers in two million cubic metres of earth. There were no survivors.
In October, 10 miners were also killed when a mine was flooded in the northern province of Shaanxi. Two miners were rescued after being trapped underground by the flood for ten days.