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123 trapped in coal mine flooding in north China

Updated: 2010-03-28 19:03
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TAIYUAN - Some 123 people were trapped after a coal mine under construction in north China's Shanxi Province was flooded Sunday, local authorities said, revising the earlier version of 152.

An initial investigation showed that a total of 261 workers were in the pit of Wangjialing Coal Mine when underground water gushed in at about 1:40 pm. Of them, 138 managed to escape while 123 others remained trapped in the shaft, according to the Shanxi Provincial Work Safety Administration and the Shanxi Provincial Emergency Affairs Office.

The exact numbers of people who escaped and those who were trapped are being further checked.

Zhang Baoshun, secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Wang Jun, governor of Shanxi, are rushing to the scene.

Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, and Zhao Tiechui, deputy head of the administration, are also on their way to the site.

The mine, sitting astride Xiangning County of Linfen City and Hejin City of Yuncheng City, covers about 180 square kilometers.

The mining zone boasts more than 2.3 billion tons of coal reserves, including nearly 1.04 billion tonnes of proved reserves, according to the company's official website.

It is now under infrastructure construction and is expected to produce 6 million tonnes of coal annually once put into operation.

The mine, affiliated to the state-owned Huajin Coking Coal Co Ltd, is a key project approved by the provincial government.