China / Society

14 trapped in colliery flooding

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-03 16:50

HARBIN - The rescue of 14 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province for two days has not been fully carried out, as floodwater has not been fully drained from the mine, according to the rescue headquarters.

Li Shuguang, a production safety official in Qitaihe City and spokesman of the rescue headquarters, said on Monday that the water level under the Furuixiang Coal Mine has dropped by two meters since water pumps were used to drain water out of the mine on Sunday.

"The mining company held back some information about the underground structure of the pit, which caused some miscalculations on the amount of flooding," he said.

He added that by Monday noon, 5,000 cubic meters of water had been drained from the mine, far exceeding the presumed amount of floodwater.

The official said rescuers are installing another water pump to speed up the draining.

A total of 22 miners were working underground when the accident happened at 11:40 pm Saturday in Qitaihe city. Six miners managed to escape. Another two miners were escorted out of the mine at noon Sunday before being rushed to hospital.

Local authorities said the flooded colliery was a licensed site operated by Furuixiang Coal Co, Ltd.

An initial investigation has found that the company had transgressed its approved mining boundary, and miners accidentally drilled into a nearby sealed pit, which caused the flooding.

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