A coalmine explosion killed at least six Wednesday night at Daji Village, near Long'an City in east China’s Fujian Province.
Three workers escaped the blaze themselves without injury. Another, who was rescued, was seriously injured and is being treated in hospital.
One of the miners who escaped said that he smelled smoke inside the mine at about 10:00 PM Wednesday and discovered that the air compressor was on fire. Unable to switch it off, he ran outside to try to cut the power.
He reported that there were 11 miners working inside when the fire broke out.
Six of the miners’ bodies have been found so far.
Eleven of the rescue workers were overcome by carbon monoxide when they attempted to save the miners, and were themselves pulled out by their colleagues.
The privately owned mine employs 60 to 70 workers, all migrant laborers from China’s inland areas.
Also this week, the Hunan Province Work Safety Supervision Administration announced Wednesday that 10 people were killed after a cargo truck loaded with fireworks exploded in a fireworks plant in Erhuping Village, Zhangjiajie City.
The tragedy occurred about 7:20 PM Tuesday when the loaded truck was ready to leave the fireworks plant, a collectively owned unit with 20 employees.
The explosion destroyed the factory and the truck immediately, resulting in economic losses estimated at 200,000 yuan (more than US$24,000).
Local police had closed down the fireworks plant on March 15 for inadequate safety administration. Police are hunting for the legal representative of the plant, Yang Taiji, who fled on hearing of the incident.
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
On a brighter note, all 12 workers trapped since Sunday in a flooded coalmine in Chaohua Town, Xinmin City, central China’s Henan Province, were rescued Friday morning.
“All 12 miners are still alive,” said Yu Haiying, head of the rescue headquarters.
They had been trapped since Sunday afternoon when a working face of Zhengzhou Coal Industrial Corporation’s Chaohua mine was suddenly flooded.
The coalmine did not carry out a thorough survey of the hydrological and geological conditions in the mining area before going into operation, according to the rescue headquarters formed by the Henan Province Coalmine Safety Department.
Zhengzhou Coal said an investigation after the accident showed that a nearby private coalmine had dug 320 meters inside the boundary of the Chaohua mine, forming a mined-out area of more than 60,000 cubic meters.
The area held an estimated 28,000 cubic meters of accumulated water, which suddenly poured down Sunday afternoon on the workers in the Chaohua mine.
Henan safety authorities have called on all local coalmines to conduct inspections for any danger of flooding and to prepare for the upcoming rainy season.
(Sources: Xinhua News Agency, April 16, 2004)