At least 74 miners were killed and 114 others injured on Sunday in China’s worst coal mine disaster in more than a year when a pre-dawn gas explosion ripped through a mine shaft in the coal-rich northern Shanxi province, rescuers said.
The mishap, which occurred at about 2:20 am local time (2350 HRS IST Saturday night) is the latest in a series of mishaps that have hit the world’s largest coal producer’s disaster- prone mining industry.
Rescuers said 74 people had died in the accident. Among 114 hospitalised miners, five were in critical condition.
The accident occurred at the Tunlan Coal Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group in Gujiao City, about 50 km away from Taiyuan, the provincial capital, Taiyuan.
Most of the miners suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, doctors at the Xishan Hospital of Coal and Electricity in Gujiao, one of the nearest hospitals to the mine, said.
The rescue operation concluded when all miners under shaft had been found, rescuers said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have asked authorities to make all efforts to rescue the miners trapped or injured in the blast, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The rescue headquarters did not specify how many bodies were found in the mine shaft, only saying the 74 fatalities included bodies found by rescuers in the mine and workers who died in hospital care.