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
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
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
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.