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25 killed, 141 still trapped in Shaanxi mine
Updated: 2004-11-29 08:07

At least 25 miners were killed following a major gas explosion at the Chenjiashan Coalmine in Shaanxi Province at 7:20 a.m. Sunday, and 141 remained trapped underground, said rescuers at the site early Monday.

A rescued miner is moved to a medical vehicle at the mine gate. [newsphoto]
In addition, 45 miners were injured among the 127 people rescued, according to the local government.

There were 293 miners working underground when the gas explosion happened at coalpits some 8,000 meters away from the ground entrance.

Those who escaped the gas explosion were mainly workers near the entrance and all the injured have been hospitalized, including11 seriously-injured, who suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning or scratch injury, according to the rescue headquarters at the site.

A rescued worker said even though working at a working site approximately 1500 meters underground, he was knocked down by the strong airflow caused by the explosion.

Rescuers failed to arrive at the working site where the explosion occurred, as the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air exceeded safety standard.

A miner's wife is offered help by local officials and police outside the Chenjiashan Coal Mine in Shaanxi Province, where 141 miners were still trapped underground by a gas explosion yesterday. [newsphoto]
The priority task was to resume ventilation which had been greatly damaged in the explosion, and to guarantee the rescuers' safety, said Zhao Tiechui, deputy head of the State Production Safety Bureau. Leading a delegation, Zhao arrived in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi, on Sunday.

Six rescue teams have taken part in the salvation operation andthe provincial government has ordered all the mines with high gas concentration to halt operation for safety examination.

The accident has aroused great concern among Chinese leaders. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have demanded local officials to try every possible means to search for the missing, take care of the injured and handle well the aftermath.

Main provincial officials, including Li Jianguo, secretary of the Shaanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and Chen Deming, acting governor of Shaanxi, have all rushed to the site of the accident to organize the rescue operation.

The Chenjiashan Coalmine is a state-owned venture under the jurisdiction of the Tongchuan Mining Administration capable of producing 2.3 million tons of coal a year. A gas explosion killed 38 in this mine in April 2001.

Gas outburst in tunnels is believed to be a geological disaster.A great deal of harmful, suffocating gas breaks out in a few seconds and reaches a density of higher than 12 percent against oxygen in the air, creating conditions for an explosion, accordingto experts.

This is a second fatal gas outburst disaster has caused heavy death toll in a state-owned coal mine over the past 40 days. Previously, a gas explosion happened at the Daping Coalmine in central China's Henan Province on Oct. 20, killing 148 and injuring 32.

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