Eight dead in latest China coal mine blast | india | Hindustan Times
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Eight dead in latest China coal mine blast

The death toll could be higher than eight as the exact number of people working at the time was not immediately clear.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 11:21 IST

At least eight miners were killed in a gas explosion in central China's Henan province, state press reported on Wednesday, as rescue efforts continued in another mine for 57 people trapped for six days.

The death toll from the Henan accident could be higher than eight as the exact number of people working at the time was not immediately clear because the mine owner and other supervisors had fled, Xinhua news agency said.

It said the accident occurred late Monday just two hours after the unlicensed mine in Mianchi county illegally restarted operations after being shut down by local government authorities.

Henan's work safety administration and Mianchi county government both declined to comment.

Meanwhile, rescue efforts continued for 57 miners trapped since last Thursday in a flooded mine in China's coal-producing center of Datong in Shanxi province.

"It is hard to determine their chances of survival," a staff member at the Shanxi Provincial Coal Mine Work Safety Administration, who declined to give his name, told the agency on Wednesday.

"The shaft is filled with water... we can only carry out rescue operations when the water is pumped out," he said, adding that 12 water pumps were working at full capacity.

"It is very difficult to determine the location of the miners because the mine owner has fled."

State television said earlier the number of trapped miners could be higher than 57 because several managers, including the mine owner, had destroyed crucial documents before fleeing.

Eight supervisors have been detained, the mine safety administration staff said.

Media reports said the mine had been illegally subcontracted out numerous times as managers eager to increase profits overlooked safety.

China's coal mines are regarded as the most dangerous in the world, with official figures estimating that nearly 6,000 workers were killed last year.