Three dozen coal miners remain trapped underground following a
serious flooding accident on Sunday in Sinan County, near the city
of Tongren in southwest China's Guizhou
Province. It is unknown whether the men are still alive.
Eighty miners were working inside the Tianchi Coal Mine when
water began gushing in at about 12:30 PM.
Rescue operations are under way, with six water pumps moved in
from other parts of the province.
Jiang Xueming, an official with the Guizhou Administration of
Work Safety, said on Monday that a more powerful pump was needed
owing to the depth of the mine, about 260 meters. The pump had been
requisitioned and was due to arrive Monday night.
The cause of the flooding is still under investigation.
Jiabao has instructed the provincial government to use all
means possible to rescue the trapped miners.
The production capacity of the township-owned mine is 30,000
tons annually. It received a C rating in a safety evaluation
conducted by local authorities, indicating that improvements were
needed. The lowest rating on the four-step scale is D.
Meanwhile, as of noon Tuesday five men had been confirmed dead
in a coal mine fire in Xiangtan County, central China's Hunan
Province. Three others were rescued but 13 remain trapped
The accident occurred at around 6:30 PM Monday at the Xinli Coal
Mine, located in the town of Tanjiashan.
Local officials immediately called in five teams from nearby
areas to assist rescuers at the mine.
A rescue team member said there is no dense harmful gas
underground and there is still hope that the trapped miners are
Hunan Vice Governor Xu Yunzhao and Xie Guangxiang, head of the
provincial Coal Mine Safety Supervision Administration, are
overseeing the rescue operations.
No information was provided as to the possible cause of the
In another development, the government of Yuxian County in north
Province formed a team on Sunday to investigate the explosion
that claimed 33 lives at the Daxian Colliery last Thursday.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2004)