19 dead in coal mine gas leak

Updated: 2011-11-10 16:20


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KUNMING - Nineteen miners have died after a coal-mine gas leak accident in the southwest province of Yunnan Thursday, as hundreds of rescuers have been dispatched to save another 24 people trapped underground, local authorities said.

The accident occurred around 6:30 am at the Sizhuang Coal Mine in Shizong county in the city of Qujing, the Yunnan Provincial Emergency Response Office announced in a statement.

A rescue operation is underway, involving about 30 firemen, 100 professional rescuers and 300 medical workers, the statement said.

Two emergency communication command vehicles, six fire trucks and more than 30 ambulances have also been dispatched by local authorities.

The Qujing municipal government said earlier a "gas explosion" had ripped through the mine.

The exact number of miners working underground at the time of the accident is still under investigation.

Luo Lin, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, ordered local authorities to go all out to save the trapped miners.

Zhao Tiechui, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety, and Peng Jianxun, deputy director of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety are en route to Qujing to oversee the rescue efforts.

The privately-run Sizhuang Coal Mine reports an annual output capacity of 90,000 tonnes.