The death toll in China's worst mining accident in two years rose to 106 on Wednesday after two more bodies were pulled out of the coal mine, the state media said. The state-run Xinhua News Agency cited local authorities as saying the bodies of two workers were retrieved Wednesday morning. The report said that the search continued for the last two people missing under ground at the state-run Xinxing mine in Hegang city, Heilongjiang province.
China's mine safety authorities have blamed crowded conditions, insufficient ventilation and slow rescue efforts for the high death toll in the gas explosion, which hit before dawn on Saturday when 528 miners were under ground.
The Xinxing mine's director, deputy director and chief engineer have been fired, an employee has said. He refused to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media. China has closed or absorbed hundreds of smaller, private mines into state-owned operations, which are considered generally safer. But some of the most deadly accidents this year continue to be at state-run mines.
The push for safety brought an 18.4 percent drop in mining accident deaths in the first six months of the year, from the same period in 2008.
Still, 1,175 people died in mining accidents.