Rescuers have started the search for 21 miners a full two days
after they were trapped in a north China coalmine by a gas
The blast occurred at Miaojiang Coal Mine, in Chengqu District
of Jincheng City, Shanxi Province, on Sunday evening, but the
mine owner allegedly failed to report the accident to emergency
services, said sources with the Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Work
On Tuesday afternoon, people close to the company contacted the
provincial bureau of work safety, which ordered the Jincheng City
Bureau of Work Safety to immediately investigate.
A team from the Jincheng City Bureau of Work Safety later on
Tuesday confirmed the gas explosion after completing the
A rescue team arrived at the site at 8:40 PM to discover that
the main shaft and the side passage were all sealed off. When they
unblocked the shaft, rescuers found that the miners had been
working beyond the officially approved coal bed.
Police have arrested Wang Junjun, the owner of the Miaojiang
Coal Mine, who allegedly attempted to conceal the incident.
Questioned by police early on Wednesday, it is reported Wang
admitted there was a gas blast on Sunday and that 21 miners were
trapped, but failed to provide the exact time of the explosion.
Shanxi Provincial Communist Party and government leaders ordered
the use of all possible resources in the rescue operation, and
demanded the exact number of casualties, factors related to the
accident, and an investigation into the alleged cover-up, with
legal action to follow if warranted.
Vice Governor Jin Shanzhong on Wednesday led a group of experts
to Miaojiang Coal Mine to oversee rescue efforts.
(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2007)