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Rescuers Abandon Efforts to Save Seven Trapped Miners in Liaoning
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Rescuers have been forced to abandon efforts to save seven trapped miners from two flooded neighboring coal mines in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Rescuers have pumped out 59,000 cubic meters of water in the last 11 days but the water level underground remains high and unchanged.

It is believed the coal mines, located at the Tianshifu Township of Benxi Autonomous County of Manchu Nationality, are probably connected by a local underground water system which has at least 1.86 million cubic meters of water, and it will take about a year to pump out the water at the current maximum speed of 300 cubic meters per hour.

The rescue operation was abandoned on Saturday noon because the seven miners, who were working in a position below the water level when the accident happened, had no chance of survival after 11 days, rescuers said.

The coal mines are also liable to collapse at any time, posing a great threat to rescuers.

At around 7:00 PM on Jan. 9, a flood occurred at a coal mine owned by Cui Jingzhu, affecting an adjacent coal mine run by Gao Sihai and trapping seven workers underground.

The two mines, each with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons, should not have been in operation. They had been closed earlier this month, but resumed production illegally.

The two mine owners have reached an agreement with the relatives of the victims, who will be paid at least 200,000 yuan (US$ 25,000) each in compensation, a spokesman with the Benxi county government said on Sunday.

(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2007)

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