Rescuers racing to find trapped miner

Updated: 2011-09-19 06:49

By Yan Jie (China Daily)

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 Rescuers racing to find trapped miner

  Rescuers carry equipment at the flooded Yuanbaowan Coal Mine in Shanyin county, Shuozhou city, North China’s Shanxi province, early on Saturday morning. YAN YAN / XINHUA


Province says company must halt production at all facilities

BEIJING - Rescuers struggled on Sunday to reach the last miner trapped underground at a flooded coal mine in North China's Shanxi province, after the province imposed a moratorium on production at all local underground coal mines owned by the mine's parent company.

A total of 10 miners were killed after an underground flood hit the uncompleted Yuanbaowan Coal Mine in Shanyin county, Shuozhou city, on Friday, trapping 11 miners, local authorities said on Sunday.

Another 10 miners managed to escape.

Rescuers retrieved the bodies of the victims early on Sunday, said the authorities, but the last trapped miner remained unaccounted for.

The mine is owned by the Shanyin-based Shanxi Jinhaiyang Energy Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the China National Coal Group Corp (ChinaCoal), the nation's second-largest producer of coal by output.

"The accident was a surprise to the company," said Wang Jianping, a spokesman for the company. The company had taken precautions in the construction of the mine, he added.

The completed mine is projected to have an annual capacity of 900,000 tons, according to the company.

More than 800 people have been deployed in the rescue effort, said local authorities.

The mishap came in the middle of a 100-day workplace safety review in Shanxi.

The provincial government ordered that all underground coal mines owned by ChinaCoal in the province be shut down and overhauled starting Saturday to ensure workplace safety, according to an official statement published on Sunday.

Li Xiaopeng, the executive deputy governor of Shanxi, said that the accident had exposed serious problems in the implementation of safety measures and management of safety at some coal mines, according to the statement.

The mines will not be allowed to resume production until they pass safety inspections, said the statement.

All underground coal mines owned by ChinaCoal in Shanxi suspended production to ensure safety, said Guo Jian, head of ChinaCoal's publicity department.

In addition, the province will establish an investigation group as soon as possible to determine the cause of the accident, said the statement.

China Daily

(China Daily 09/19/2011 page4)