HARBIN -- At least 27 miners have been confirmed missing in two colliery accidents that happened in recent weeks but were concealed by mine owners in the northeastern Province of Heilongjiang, local authorities said on Tuesday.
Fourteen miners were missing after the Jianbao Coal Mine in Jixi City caved in on February 28, but the coal mine manager reported that only two were trapped underground, according to the provincial work safety authority.
In another accident, in the Taiyuan Coal Mine of Hegang City, 43 miners were trapped when the mine caught fire on March 5, of whom only 30 were rescued. Thirteen others were missing. The casualties were concealed by the mine owner, who reported that everyone was safe.
Local authorities were informed of the cover-up by local people and police and disciplinary inspection departments started to investigate.
Several suspects involved in false reports, including two mine bosses, have been detained and face severe penalties, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.
Investigations and rescue work were in progress, it said.