105 killed in gas blast at China coal mine

The death toll has risen to 105 after a gas explosion at a coal mine in northern China's Shanxi province, with the possibility that more miners may still be missing, the government said on Friday.

105 killed in gas blast at China coal mine
Most of the dead were poisoned by carbon monoxide, which also hampered the rescue work at the Xinyao mine in Shanxi's Linfen city, the State Administration of Work Safety said.

The official Xinhua news agency said rescue workers recovered another 26 bodies on Friday, bringing the death toll to 105.

The administration earlier reported that 70 people were confirmed dead and at least 26 were missing underground, but other reports said uncertainty remained over the exact number of miners working at the time of the explosion.

The agency quoted local officials as saying at least 120 miners had been working underground and that 15 had escaped or been rescued.

Police arrested the owner and manager of the mine run by the Rui Zhiyuan company, accusing them of delaying the reporting of the explosion late Wednesday for about six hours until early Thursday morning.

Safety officials also suspected that the accident was caused by illegal mining in an unauthorized part of the mine, the agency said.

'The ongoing rescue operation is properly organized, however, we should learn lessons from the disaster, such as strictly banning any illegal mining activities and over-staffing, timely reporting, and not to enter blindly into rescues,' it quoted Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, as saying late Thursday.

The licensed mine began production in 1988 and expanded its annual capacity to 210,000 tons in 2000, reports said.

Accidents kill an estimated 10,000 people annually in Chinese mines. The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures, with many occurring at illegal mines.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Aralık 2007, 11:51