Death toll in China mine blast mounts to 27
Rescue workers have found five more bodies of miners killed by a gas explosion at a mine in northern China.india Updated: Jun 29, 2006 10:15 IST
Rescue workers have found five more bodies of miners killed by a gas explosion in a coal mine in northern China, raising the death toll to at least 27, the government said on Thursday.
Only four miners were reported missing after the blast on Wednesday in the Wulong Coal Mine in Fuxin, a city in Liaoning province, but rescuers found bodies of the four plus an additional one, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a local official.
The mine is owned by the Fuxin Mining Group, a state enterprise that also owns the Sunjiawan mine where 214 people were killed in a Valentine's Day blast last year.
That was China's worst mining disaster in 60 years.
The entire Fuxin group has stopped coal production in order to review safety, Xinhua said.
The disaster Wednesday occurred some 900 meters (3,000 feet) below ground, according to Xinhua.
"I suddenly felt a gust of hot wind rushing towards me and was immediately thrown out," said one survivor, Wei Zhenxue, quoted by Xinhua.
"I could not remember what happened after that. When I opened my eyes, I saw many people around me," Wei said. "I struggled to crawl towards the mouth of the mine and was saved after managing to drag myself 20 metres."
China's coal mines are the world's deadliest, with more than 5,000 fatalities reported every year in explosions, underground floods and other disasters.
Fatal accidents often are blamed on failure to enforce safety rules or lack of required equipment such as ventilators to remove explosive gas that seeps from the coal bed.