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Missing five miners feared dead
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-24 05:36

Hopes are fading for the five miners trapped after a massive pit blast at a coal mine in northern China's Hebei Province last week.

"They have been trapped for five days," said officials in charge of the rescue operations yesterday.

Rescuers have discovered bodies of 45 miners who became the victims of last Thursday's gas explosion at the Nuan'erhe coal mine near the city of Chengde, the State Administration of Work Safety said on its website yesterday.

Sun Jisheng, the only survivor of the blast, is receiving treatment at a local hospital.

The 53-year-old escaped unhurt from a mining accident in January 2002.

The new gas explosion occurred at 3:00 am on Thursday, when 85 miners were working underground. Thirty-four of them were rescued shortly after the blast.

Compensation measure for relatives of the victims are already in place, government officials said.

Fu Wencai, head of the provincial administration of work safety, told reporters that all the victims of the accident were insured for possible injuries during work.

"The relatives of the victims would be given at least 200,000 yuan (US$ 24,200) in compensation," Fu said.

"Confusion over security management and an overloading of workers in the mine are to blame for the gas blast," said Zhao Tiechui, vice-director of the State Administration of Work Safety.

In another development, the Jiangxi Provincial Bureau of Work Safety said about 10 miners were reportedly trapped yesterday afternoon after underground water flooded a private coal mine in Lianhua County, East China's Jiangxi Province. Rescue work is still underway.

Located at Nanzhangzi Village in Bajia Township, the coal mine used to be State-owned, but was auctioned to the Beijing Guodian Zhongneng Electric Fuel Investment Co Ltd for 65 million yuan (US$7.8 million) in December 2003.

(China Daily 05/24/2005 page2)

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