33 coal min­ers trapped, 2 res­cued fol­low­ing blast

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

BEI­JING (AP): A GAS ex­plo­sion ripped through a coal mine in western China yes­ter­day, leav­ing 33 min­ers trapped, a lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said. Two other min­ers were res­cued, he said.

The con­di­tion of those un­der­ground isn’t known and res­cue work is con­tin­u­ing, said the of­fi­cial, reached by phone at the Yongzhou dis­trict gov­ern­ment pro­pa­ganda of­fice in the sprawl­ing Chongqing re­gion. He re­fused to give his name, as is com­mon with Chi­nese pub­lic ser­vants.

The blast oc­curred shortly be­fore noon, state me­dia re­ported. Such ac­ci­dents are of­ten caused when a flame or an elec­tri­cal spark ig­nites gas leak­ing from the coal seam. Ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems are sup­posed to pre­vent gas from be­com­ing trapped.

China’s min­ing in­dus­try has long been among the world’s dead­li­est, al­though safety im­prove­ments and the clo­sure of smaller, more danger­ous mines have re­duced the death toll in re­cent years.

China is the world’s largest pro­ducer and con­sumer of coal, but has an­nounced plans to shut­ter more than 1,000 out­dated mines. The head of China’s State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Work Safety said this year that strug­gling coal mines may be likely to over­look main­te­nance.

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