Rescuers retrieved one body on Thursday and were rescuing the remaining 20 trapped in a coal mine flood in central China's Henan Province. It was the third mine accident in China on Wednesday.
The Mazhuang colliery in Jiyuan City, flooded at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, when 28 miners were working below ground. Seven escaped.
The pumping efforts had almost ended, said Li Tianfu, deputy director of Jiyuan City Coal Industry Bureau. Nearly 30 rescuers were clearing coal debris accumulated in the shaft. They had to first get through a 70-meter-long shaft section to find the trapped miners.
"Though the rescue operation faces great difficulties, we will try our best and will never give up," said Shi Jichun, Henan's vice governor.
Fan Xuying, the mine's owner, has been held by police.
The licensed mine has an annual production capacity of 150,000 tonnes.
Rescuers are working to free seven miners trapped in another mine flood in Shanxi Province, while 29 miners are believed to be trapped after a gas explosion in a pit in neighboring Shaanxi Province. Both also happened on Wednesday.
(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2008)