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All 7 miners found dead in Hunan pit flood

2010-12-03 09:45

Safety Warning Issued Before the Tragedy

CHANGSHA - All the seven miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in central China's Hunan province Tuesday were found dead early Friday, rescuers said.

Rescuers retrieved all their bodies at 6 a.m. at a depth of 90 meters in the flooded pit of Yide Coal Mine in Xiangtan County, a spokesman with the emergency rescuer headquarters said.

The bodies were found at the end of the shaft, indicating they were swept there by the gushing flood shortly after the accident happened at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

After the accident, a deputy mine manager led 27 workers safely out of the mine.

Despite all-out rescue efforts over the past two days, the spokesman said little progress was made due to serious cave-ins and lack of oxygen.

Yide is a small mine that has doubled its annual output to 60,000 tonnes after recently merging with a neighboring mine. The local safety authority said the mine managers had been warned of potential safety loopholes, both orally and in writing, over the past four weeks.

Senior executives and major shareholders of the mine are in police custody.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

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