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34 Workers Trapped in Two Coal Mines

A total of 34 miners in two separate coal mines have been trapped underground in Shaanxi Province and Chongqing Municipality.

Rescuers in northwest China's Shaanxi Province are working hard to drain off the water that leaked in a coal mine under the Hancheng Coal Affairs Department of the province at 20:55 on Thursday night submerging two exits and trapping 15 miners.

An estimated 5,000 cubic meters of water had accumulated in the mine by yesterday morning, according to Xinhua.

Elsewhere, the cause of another water leakage, which occurred on Wednesday in the Xiushan coal mine of southwest China's Chongqing trapping another 19 miners, has been preliminarily investigated, China News Service reported.

The water leakage was caused by random digging by workers in a nearby old coal mine, said Liu Zuli, an official of the Chongqing Coal Industry Bureau.

Some 200 rescuers were making all-out effort to drain off the water and by yesterday morning, the water level was reduced from 130 meters to 20 meters.

Addressing the two accidents, the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety Supervision urged local authorities to tighten supervision of coal mines, an official surnamed An told China Daily.

She said her administration makes regular checks of coal mines in major coal-producing areas each year. Substandard coal mines are shut down whenever the administration finds inadequate safety measures or small-scale operations.

However, some small coal mines reopen illegally after a certain period.

There are a total of 2,960 supervisors for coal mines production across the country. The number is insufficient to supervise various large and small coal mines nationwide, said An.

(China Daily September 13, 2003)

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