Death toll rises to 18 af­ter mine blast

Of­fi­cials of the coal mine were de­tained, while au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing its busi­ness op­er­a­tions

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By TANYINGZI in Chongqing andXUWEI in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at tanyingzi@chi­nadaily.com.cn and xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cm

The death toll from a gas ex­plo­sion in a Chongqing coal mine rose to 18 on Tues­day, as res­cuers worked around the clock to search for the 15 min­ers who re­mained trapped more than 24 hours af­ter the blast.

Res­cuers found the bodies of an­other five min­ers in the coal mine on Tues­day af­ter the bodies of 13 min­ers were dis­cov­ered in a pit 93 me­ters be­low ground on Mon­day night.

Of the 18 bodies, 17 have been re­moved, with res­cuers still try­ing to re­move the other as of Tues­day evening. The gas ex­plo­sion took place at the Jin­shangou coal mine of Yongchuan district at 11:33 am onMon­day.

The res­cue head­quar­ters said at a news brief­ing on Tues­day evening that the den­sity of gas in some ar­eas within the coal mine re­mained high, and they are pump­ing out the gas as the search and res­cue ef­forts con­tinue.

Mean­while, the fact that there are col­lapsed tun­nels within the coal mine has made the use of large ma­chin­ery im­pos­si­ble, forc­ing res­cuers to clear the de­bris in the tun­nels man­u­ally and to for­tify the tun­nels first be­fore reach­ing the trapped min­ers, the au­thor­ity said.

There were work­ing when 35 the min­ers in­ci­dent oc­curred, and two were able to un­harmed, it added.

More than 400 res­cuers have been work­ing overnight, tak­ing turns go­ing down the shaft for the search and res­cue op­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to the head­quar­ters.

Yang Huan­ning, min­is­ter of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Work Safety, said at the scene that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be con­ducted along with res­cue ef­forts.

“(The res­cuers) should pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the gath­er­ing, record­ing and sav­ing of im­por­tant ev­i­dence,” he said.

He also stressed the im­por­tance of avoid­ing sec­ondary dis­as­ters and crack­ing down on il­le­gal be­hav­iors that vi­o­late work safety reg­u­la­tions.

Gui Laibao, deputy head of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of CoalMine Safety, toldXin­hua News Agency that a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found a prob­lem with min­ing be­yond the le­gal bound­aries.

He added that there were prob­lems with work safety fa­cil­i­ties and im­proper ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems. work­ers es­cape

Luo Qingquan, head of Yongchuan district, told Xin­hua News Agency that po­lice have de­tained the le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive and man­ager of the coal mine, and au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing its busi­ness op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing the pay­ment of work­ers and whether min­ers have life in­sur­ance.

Mu Huap­ing, vice-mayor of Chongqing, said at a news con­fer­ence on Tues­day evening that “the tragedy is a big les­son for us”, adding that the mine had se­ri­ous is­sues with safety man­age­ment and that re­lated de­part­ments will be pun­ished.

The mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­ity will close all mines with a yearly pro­duc­tion vol­ume of less than 90,000 met­ric tons be­fore the end of this year, he said.

The pri­vately owned Jin­shangou mine has a de­signed an­nual out­put of 60,000 tons, ac­cord­ing to its li­cense. The coal mine has 150 work­ers.

TANG YI / XIN­HUA

Res­cuers send re­lief ma­te­ri­als into a pit be­low ground at a coal mine in Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity on Tues­day fol­low­ing a deadly gas ex­plo­sion the day be­fore.

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