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Pit signals danger before gas explosion
Updated: 2004-11-29 23:59

The Chenjiashan Coal Mine, a large State-owned enterprise, produces 2.3 million tons of coal annually.

With the increasing demand of coal as the winter is coming, the mine paid more attention to production growth than production safety, experts said.

In fact, there were signs that a serious accident could occur in the accident-hit mine before the disaster. A miner told China Daily that on November 22, a fire broke out at a work site underground, but production never halted.

"The firefighting team at our mine made efforts to put out the fire and they worked for nearly a week to control the fire," the miner said.

A technician at the Chenjiashan Coal Mine said that smoldering appeared in the ventilating shaft at the scene. It was also certain that a coal-dust explosion happened alongside the gas blast, which made it very unlikely for the missing miners to have survived, and has caused great difficulties for recovery teams working in the aftermath.

An investigation is continuing.

Wang Xianzheng, director of National Safe Production Supervision and Administration Bureau led a group formed with chiefs of the bureaux concerned and doctors at the Chenjiashan Coal Mine late yesterday.

The local provincial and city governments have organized working groups for recovery, medical treatment and the aftermath. Teams, doctors and nurses and technicians have also been sent to the mine from other parts of the province.

And the provincial government has ordered all mines with high gas concentration to halt operations for safety examinations, local officials said.

Some 1,000 relatives of the injured and missing miners have come to the mine and they have been waiting anxiously outside the accident-hit mine for their husbands, sons or fathers.

Local governments have arranged staff members to serve those relatives properly and tried to stabilize their moods.

"We will do a good job on dealing with the dead and injured miners, and handling compensation and pensions within the relevant State regulations," Gong said.

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