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Flooding at northeastern China coal mine leaves dozens trapped


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Flooding at northeastern China coal mine leaves dozens trapped

2011-08-23 20:07:30 GMT+7 (ICT)

HARBIN, CHINA (BNO NEWS) -- More than two dozen miners are trapped underground after an illegal coal mine flooded in northeastern China on Tuesday, state-run media reported.

The incident happened at around 12 p.m. local time at the Hengtai Coal Mine in Boli County, which is located near the coal-rich city of Qitaihe in Heilongjiang province. More than 40 people were working at the Hengtai Coal Mining Co. Ltd.-owned mine when it happened.

The state-run Xinhua news agency cited a provincial official as saying that 19 miners were able to escape unharmed while 26 others remain trapped underground. Rescue efforts were continuing on late Tuesday evening.

Xinhua said the flooded pit, which has an annual output of 30,000 tonnes, was one of several small mines which were supposed to have stopped production to be integrated into larger mines. The mine was therefore operating illegally.

Safety conditions at mines in China have significantly improved in recent years, but they remain among the world's most dangerous with 2,433 fatalities in 2010 alone, compared to 2,631 deaths in 2009. China in recent years shut down scores of small mines to improve safety and efficiency in the mining industry.

Earlier this month, on August 14, ten people were killed as a result of a gas outburst at a mine in southern China's Guizhou province, according to the State Administration of Work Safety. Others survived the accident.

One of the worst mining accidents in China in recent years happened in November 2009 when 104 workers were killed after several explosions at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-23

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