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Shanxi Colliery Blast:30 Miners Still Trapped Down
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Rescuers on Monday were still searching for the 30 miners trapped in a coal mine explosion which had claimed 17 lives in north China's Shanxi Province on Sunday.

About 90 rescuers in eight teams went down more than 300 meters to search for the trapped miners, while others were busy moving exhaust fans, cables, timber and other materials into the mine.

Officials with the rescue headquarters said the resumption of ventilation and power supply is vital for rescue operation.

Initial investigations suggest that human errors were blamed for the fatal accident.

The mine should have been evacuated since gas had accumulated to a dangerous level on Sunday morning after exhaust fans stopped working due to power failure. However, power supply resumed without safety measures and caused the explosion.

According to the rescue headquarters, 393 workers were working in the mine when the blast took place, and 346 miners escaped.

The accident occurred at 11 AM Sunday in the Jiaojiazhai Coal Mine of Xuangang Company under Datong Coal Mine Group, in Xinzhou, a central-north city of Shanxi Province.

All the victims are miners of Datong Coal Mine Group.

The Shanxi government on Monday ordered all the coal mines in the coal-rich province to operate in accord with work safety regulations, saying any one who violates regulations will be punished.

Director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) Li Yizhong and head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety Li Tiechui rushed to the site to organize rescue operations.

The SAWS said on Monday that coal mine accidents saw a rapid rise since early October, and 345 people were killed in 174 such accidents in October, up 44.4 percent and 26.1 percent respectively from September.

The administration attributed the increase of coal mine accidents to relaxed management on safety in production, saying that coal mine safety was quite a "serious" problem threatening the industry.

(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2006)

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