Death toll in China mine blast rise to 26

Rescuers in central China are fighting tons of coal dust to try to reach the trapped workers.

Beijing: With the recovery of five more
bodies, the death toll in the gas explosion that hit a coal
mine in China`s central Henan province rose to 26 today while
11 others are still trapped underground.

Rescuers continue to battle thick coal dust as they
attempt to reach the 11 missing but the gas leak has spread to
most of the mine making it difficult for them.

The miners are believed to have been trapped underground
after a blast occurred yesterday in the mine situated in
Yuzhou city of the province at 6 am local time, a spokesman
for the rescue headquarters said.

A total of 276 miners were working underground when the
accident happened and 239 escaped.

More than 70 rescuers are working in shifts despite a
high density of gas underground, which is hindering the

Earlier reports said 16 miners have been located, but
rescuers must clear the coal dust from the shaft first.
Ventilation has been resumed in the pit, the official
Xinhua news agency reported last night.

An initial investigation showed that more than 2,500
tonnes of coal dust was in the pit after gas burst, said Du
Bo, an engineer with one of the mine`s parent companies.

Du said the accident occurred when workers were taking
measures to prevent gas bursts.

The same mine reported another gas and coal burst on Aug
1, 2008, which left 23 miners dead.

Mine accidents have become very common in China following
immense demand for coal to back up energy demand.

China has recently announced new set of safety rules
asking the Mangers of the mines to accompany the miners but
the accidents continued unabated.

China`s mining industry is considered the most
dangerous in the world, with more than 2,600 workers killed in
accidents last year alone.
More than 1,000 small, illegal coal mines were shut
down this year as part of efforts to improve safety standards.