Rescuers emerge from a coal mine that exploded on Saturday in
northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, killing at least 21 miners and
leaving six missing. The same day, a coal gas blast in Yunnan Province in
the southwest killed 32 miners and injured 28. [Shanghai
Weekend explosions in two Chinese coal mines killed at least 53 workers,
injured 28 and left six missing, safety officials said yesterday.
The biggest death toll came on Saturday evening at the Changyuan Coal Mine in
Fuyuan, three and a half hours by road from Kunming, capital of southwest
China's Yunnan Province. Thirty-two miners were confirmed dead and 28 injured in
an explosion shortly after 5pm, local sources said.
Rescue operations continued last night as investigators worked to determine
the cause of the blast. The number of miners underground at the time was not
All the injured were hospitalized.
The mine, which holds six million tons of coal reserves, is a privately owned
Earlier Saturday, a gas explosion apparently caused by an equipment breakdown
and operational error rocked the Yuanhua Coal Mine in Jixi in northeast China's
The remains of 21 miners were found by late yesterday, while six miners
remained missing. Nine miners escaped unhurt, and four were later helped out by
rescuers, according to rescue headquarters.
A production foreman said the mine had been divided into five work zones. One
was under construction, and miners were digging coal in the other four.
A power outage around 10am led to a breakdown of the ventilation system and
the gradual accumulation of a large amount of gas, authorities said.
When the electricity was restored at 1pm, Guan Youguo, who was in charge of
ventilation in the shaft, told colleagues to release the stored gas, and the
explosion occurred shortly thereafter, according to officials.
Guan's fate was unknown last night.
Beginning operations in 1996, the privately owned Yuanhua Coal Mine is well
known for its high gas volume.
The mine produces 60,000 tons of coal a year and has 130 people on its
Rescue operations were continuing last night.
Jixi, about six hours by road from Harbin, the provincial capital, is an
important coal-production base in the northeast.
Meanwhile, families of four miners missing from a coal mine gas blast in
central China's Hunan Province on November 8 have received compensation.
Each family received 239,800 yuan (U$29,975), while families of the nine
miners who were killed in the explosion received 223,000 yuan each.
The search for the four missing men was abandoned 12 days after the accident,
as officials determined they were unlikely to have survived the high levels of
China's mines are the world's deadliest. Thousands of miners die each year in
explosions, fires and floods, many caused by lack of attention to safety
regulations and insufficient equipment.