Four more found dead after gas explosion at southwest China coal mine
2011-10-19 20:53:12 GMT+7 (ICT)
CHONGQING, CHINA (BNO NEWS) -- Four more bodies were found on Wednesday after a gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in southwestern China earlier this week, the government said, raising the death toll to 13.
The explosion happened at around 1:10 p.m. local time on Monday in Dashu Township of Fengjie County, which is located in China's Chongqing Municipality. A total of sixteen miners were working underground at the Fufa Coal Mine.
Three of the miners were rescued soon after the accident while nine bodies were pulled out, one which was found on Tuesday. But it took a group of 46 rescue workers more than two days to find the four other miners, all whom were apparently killed in the initial explosion.
The cause of the accident remains unknown, but Chinese police have detained six people who were responsible for operations at the mine. Other details about their arrests have not been released.
Safety conditions at mines in China have significantly improved in recent years but they remain among the world's most dangerous with 1,083 fatalities in the first seven months of 2011 alone. There were 2,433 fatalities in 2010 and 2,631 in 2009.
China in recent years shut down scores of small mines to improve safety and efficiency in the mining industry. The country has also ordered all mines to build emergency shelter systems by June 2013 which are to be equipped with machines to produce oxygen and air conditioning, protective walls and airtight doors to protect workers against toxic gases and other hazardous factors.
The first manned test of such a permanent underground chamber was carried out in August when around 100 people - including managers, engineers, miners, medical staff, and the chamber's developers - took part in a 48-hour test at a mine owned by the China National Coal Group in the city of Shuozhou in northern China's Shanxi Province.
One of the worst mining accidents in China in recent years happened in November 2009 when 104 workers were killed after several explosions at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province.
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