Owner of exploded China coal mine surrenders
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Last Updated: Sunday, April 04, 2010, 19:04
Beijing: The owner of a coal mine in central China, where at least 19 miners died in an explosion, has surrendered to the police, even as rescuers continued their efforts to locate 153 people trapped inside another coal mine a week ago.

About 90 miners were working underground when a gas explosion occurred on Wednesday last in a coal pit owned by Guomin Mining Co., Ltd. in Yichuan County, Henan Province.

At least 24 people were believed still trapped underground as of today, said Gao Xiangxing, the headquarters deputy director.

Mine owner Wang Guozheng, who disappeared after the blast, has surrendered, Xinhua reported and added that police would give no other details on when or how Wang turned himself in.

Wang was also the head of Baiyao Village where the mine was located.

A deputy manager and four safety inspectors had also disappeared after the accident, making it difficult to identify the exact number of the trapped workers and the location of the blast, said Zhang Zhenqing, director with the county administration of coal industry.

The county work safety authorities ordered the mine to suspend operations after a gas outburst in May last year, and production since then was illegal, Zhang said.

Police said they were still searching for the other five mine officials.

Meanwhile, rescuers continued their efforts to save 153 miners trapped in a flooded mine in China for about a week in one of the worst mining disasters in the last two years in China.

Yesterday, 13 rescuers entered the flooded mine but returned saying that the conditions were very difficult and they found no trace of the missing miners.

Hopes of survivors brightened on Friday after rescuers heard tapping of the metal pipes beneath the mine.

If the trapped workers are not saved, it could be China's worst mining disaster in more than two years.

In August 2007, a total of 181 workers died at two flooded coal mines neighbouring each other -- 172 at one mine -- in Xintai, eastern Shandong Province.

Mine accidents are common in energy-hungry China due to poor safety conditions. Thirty three miners died this week in different mine accidents.


First Published: Sunday, April 04, 2010, 19:04

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