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Last victim found in Henan coal mine flood
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Rescuers found the body of the last missing miner from a flooded coal mine accident in central China's Henan Province on Tuesday afternoon.

In all, two people died. Thirty-two others were rescued early this morning. They spent almost 23 hours underground in a flooded mine shaft.

All are described as being in stable condition at a local hospital.

Wang Dexue, deputy head of the State Administration of Work Safety, told Xinhua the Gaomendong Coal Mine in Jiaxian County was operating illegally, when the accident happened. The mine's owner, Lou Gaofeng, has been detained.

"Although the mine's production license is valid until November 2009, the mine was undergoing a technical innovation for expansion, which has yet to be approved for resuming production," said Wang.

The safety production agency also said the mine's owner, Lou, did not report the accident until two hours after it occurred.

Miners found water seeping into the shaft before it flooded at about 7:20 a.m. Monday. There were 42 people working underground at the time. Eight managed to escape.

Jiaxian, about 200 km southwest of the provincial capital Zhengzhou, is rich in mineral resources with an estimated coal reserve of about 2 billion tons, according to the county government website (www.jiaxian.gov.cn).

(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2008)

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