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Rescue efforts continue for 15 trapped miners
Updated: 2004-05-08 23:34

Rescuers are still continuing their efforts to find 15 miners who have been trapped for over one week in a flooded coal mine in Wuhai city, north China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, as hope fades for them to be found alive.

As of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, the water level in the flooded shafts had been dropped by 128 centimeters from the level when the accident occurred on April 30, after more than 43,000 cubic meters of water was pumped out, according to official sources with the city government.

Thirty-two miners were working underground when the accident took place and seventeen of them have been rescued.

The flooded Xinyuan Coal Mine is located in Hainan district of Wuhai city. It reports a reserve of one million tons and its annual production capacity is 30,000 tons.

The coal mine was ordered to halt production due to bad ventilation on April 28 by the local coal mine safety supervision administration. Operation illegally resumed covertly by the coal mine owner was blamed for the accident, according to the first phase of investigation work finished Friday.

The owner of the coal mine, Wei Lian, and head of the miners, Liu Quanyou, have been detained by the police, and the mine's shareholders Zhang Husheng and Wang Shoucheng have been kept under surveillance by the police.

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