Probe into coal mine blast begins in earnest
The State Council's investigative group officially began its investigation over the weekend into the cause of Chenjiashan Coal Mine gas blast.
Zhao Tiechui, deputy director of the State Supervision and Administration for Work Safety and head of the disaster's investigation group, said his group will find out the cause behind the accident, its nature and the direct economic losses. The group will also distinguish responsibility, propose precautionary measures, and name persons responsible.
"It is the worst disaster in China's coal industry in 44 years, after the gas explosion which killed 187 miners on November 28, 1960 in the Longshanmiao Coal Mine of Pingdingshan, Central China's Henan Province," Zhao said at the group's meeting on Friday.
The gas blast took place in the early morning of November 28,at the Chenjiashan Coal Mine in Tongchuan, Shaanxi Province in Northwest China.
Over the past days, the investigation group guided the rescue work, and has consulted some information and materials regarding the mine's design and production and safety plans, Zhao said.
At present, 35 bodies have been sent out from the underground tunnel, but searching for other dead miners had to be stopped because of four new gas blasts underground on December 2, said Huo Shichang, spokesman for the disaster rescue headquarters.
"Fortunately, the blasts did not harm any of the 61 rescuers underground, but again destroyed the just-recovered ventilation system," Huo said at a news briefing on Friday.
Zhang Tiegang, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who headed the accident group, said at the briefing that the four blasts were caused by flames underground and the best way for rescue work is to pour water into the tunnel.
"In this way, we can put out the fire safely, and can also protect the bodies of the dead miners underground. In order to avoid new injuries and deaths, the searching rescuers should not go into the tunnel again before the fire is put out," Zhang said.
He said the process of water pouring would take 10 days or more, and the water which easily puts out the fire and dilutes gas density will be drained away soon.