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16 trapped in flooded coal mine in N.E. China
Updated: 2005-08-21 09:37

Rescue workers are racing to extricate 16 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in northeastern China, a work safety official said, AFP reported.

A resuer walks around the coal mine area. [newsphoto]
The Fengguang Coal Mine near Shulan city in Jilin province flooded on Friday, the Jilin work safety administration official said.

"There are still 16 trapped and right now we're trying to locate them," she said, identifying herself only by her surname Li.

According to the Xinhua news agency, there were 152 miners in the shaft at the time of the flooding, and 136 managed to escape immediately.

Xinhua said the source of the flood was an underground pond that had formed in an abandoned coal mine nearby.

While looking for survivors, rescue workers were also busy trying to plug the hole to the pond, estimating they would need 7,000 cubic meters (245,000 cubic feet) of earth and stone to complete the task.

China recorded about 2,700 mining fatalities in the first half of the year from explosions, shaft collapses, fires and other accidents.

Independent estimates say the real figure could be far higher as mines often falsify death counts to escape closures and fines.

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