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4 confirmed dead, 9 remain missing in coal mine flooding
Updated: 2009-01-09 21:15

GUIYANG - The local work safety watchdog confirmed Friday that four people were killed and another nine remained missing in a coal mine that flooded ten days ago in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

According to Guizhou Provincial Administration of Work Safety, as of 4 p.m. Friday, four bodies had been retrieved. Rescuers are still searching for the other missing people by pumping water from the draft.

The flood occurred on December 31 at the Baiyanglin coal mine, which was illegally operating in Anshun City. Twenty people were working in the pit. Seven of them escaped safely but 13 others were trapped.

With about 3,000 cubic meters of water in the pit, chances of survival were slim, the rescue headquarters told Xinhua after the accident.

A spokesman with the administration said the rescue work had been difficult when water-mud mix crammed the draft.

Preliminary investigations found the mine, with a capacity of 30,000 tons a year, was under renovation. It had no work safety certificate and the production permit had expired.

In September and December 2008, local authorities ordered the mine to stop production, but it continued operation.