Illegal operation caused deadly coal mine blast

Updated: 2010-06-28 22:43
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Illegal operation blamed for China's coal mine explosion killing 49

BEIJING -- Illegal operation and storage of explosives had caused an underground coal mine explosion that killed 49 in central China a week ago, the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said Monday.

Gross negligence of duty of work safety supervisors should also be blamed for the tragedy on June 21 in the Xingdong No. 2 Mine in Weidong District, Pingdingshan City of Henan Province, in which 26 others were injured, the SAWS said in a statement.

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The explosion occurred after more than two tonnes of explosives ignited underground. Initial investigation found the explosives had been illegally purchased and stored, the SAWS said, without giving the reason for the blast.

The accident was worsened by the toxic gases released by the explosion, as poor ventilation caused the trapped miners to suffocate.

The accident occurred as a result of an illegal operation, as the mine's operating license expired June 6 and had been ordered to close, the SAWS said.

However, the mine manager reconnected the power supply to continue production after the district government cut supply on June 7.

The State Council, or the Cabinet, ordered an investigation on June 22. The investigation team was led by Luo Lin, head of the SAWS, and was comprised of members from the SAWS, the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, the Ministry of Supervision, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the Ministry of Public Security and the Henan Provincial Department of Supervision.

The investigation revealed inefficient monitoring work by relevant departments and officials' malpractice.

The SAWS urged a severe crackdown on illegal production and malpractice, and a strengthened management of explosive to ensure safe production.