China Coal-Mine Fire Kills 26 Workers
BEIJING—A coal-mine fire in northeastern China killed 26 workers and left 50 others injured on Wednesday, state media said, in one of the worst accidents so far this year in the country’s accident-prone mining industry.
The predawn fire occurred in Liaoning province, at a mine operated by a subsidiary of the state-owned Fuxin Coal Corp., the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The report cited a hospital manager as saying 30 of the injured workers were in serious condition, including four with life-threatening injuries.
Hengda Coal, the Fuxin subsidiary that operates the mine, has halted all work at its facilities to conduct safety checks, Xinhua said.
Local authorities were investigating whether the accident was related to a 1.6-magnitude earthquake that hit the area about an hour before the fire broke out, the agency said.
China is the world’s largest coal producer and consumer, but its more than 12,000 mines are notoriously deadly.
Some 1,049 people were killed or missing in coal-mining accidents in China last year, compared with 52 deaths over the last decade in U.S. coal-mining disasters, according to data from Chinese and U.S. authorities.
Accidents in Chinese coal mines, most of which are underground shafts, have caused more than 33,000 deaths in the last decade, data from the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety showed.
Government efforts to toughen safety regulations and consolidate smaller coal mines under state-owned operations have reduced death tolls each year since 2000. Coal-mining fatalities in China last year declined by roughly 24% compared with 2012, when 1,384 deaths were recorded.
Wednesday’s fire came after a deadly coal-mine collapse last month in China’s western Xinjiang region, which left 16 people dead and 11 others injured, state media said at the time. In April, at least 26 miners were killed in two separate accidents in the country’s southwest.