Death toll in mine accident stands at 17

Updated: 2011-10-06 08:00

By Yan Jie and Qiu Bo (China Daily)

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Death toll in mine accident stands at 17
Dai Guoqiang, a Henan native who lost his younger brother and his son in the coal mine accident, cries at the entrance to the mine in Libo county, Guizhou province, on Tuesday. Zhang Wei / China News Service

Survivor: 'I don't want to go down to a pit anymore'

GUIYANG - The death toll rose to 17 miners on Wednesday after a massive buildup of gas and coal hit a colliery in Southwest China's Guizhou province, adding to a rash of deadly mine accidents this year in the coal-rich province.

The accident took place at 7:53 am on Tuesday and trapped 28 miners working underground at the Anping Coal Mine in Libo county, local authorities said.

Rescuers pulled 14 miners out of the shaft on Tuesday and rushed them to hospital for treatment, according to the rescue headquarters.

Three miners were announced dead at the hospital, Li Xianyou, a publicity worker at the county government, told China Daily on Wednesday.

"Two miners are seriously injured and keep coughing in the ward," Li said. Two others, only slightly injured, had been discharged from the hospital.

The rest were in stable conditions, he said, and their relatives had arrived at the hospital to look after them.

Wang Tianqi, 40, one of the survivors, said he will return soon to his hometown elsewhere in Guizhou.

"This is the first time in my life I've experienced such a frightening thing," Wang said.

He had been working at the mine for only a few days before the accident. "I don't want to go down to a pit anymore."

Rescue efforts ended late Tuesday after all miners were accounted for and the bodies had been retrieved, according to the rescue headquarters.

Most were from outside Guizhou, said Mo Dengye, a local government official. The county government informed their relatives of the deaths, he said.

Police hold 3

The mine is owned by the private Zhengling Group, which is based in Liuzhou in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, according to a report on Tuesday by China National Radio, which quoted county Party chief Min Luming.

The mine began its trial production in June, Min said, and police took three people running the mine into custody.

Experts and provincial departments reached a preliminary conclusion that safety rules at the mine had been breached and adequate measures had not been taken to prevent the buildup of gas and coal, the Guizhou Daily reported on Wednesday.

The province set up a joint investigation team for a thorough probe into the cause of the accident, it reported.

Tuesday's accident was the latest with multiple fatalities in Guizhou's coal mines in this year.

The provincial governor, Zhao Kezhi, said the reason is the failure to close accident-prone mines, Guizhou Daily reported. Zhao ordered the county to begin a safety check and a crackdown on illegal coal mines.

Meanwhile, local authorities have not decided on the amount of compensation for each miner who died, said Mo, the local official.