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Four Die in Beijing Coal Mine Accidents

Two coal mine accidents in the Beijing area claimed four lives during the seven-day National Day holidays.

According to Beijing Municipal Administration of Production Safety, the first accident occurred around 11:00 AM October 5 at Xingbao Mining's Baoshui mine in Fangshan District.

Three workers -- two of them brothers from nearby Baoshui Village -- had just finished filling a cart with coal. The younger brother and the third worker were pushing the cart up the mineshaft when a portion of the ceiling collapsed, burying Wu Lingshui.

Rescue teams were unable to reach Wu for 24 hours. He was dead when they removed him from the rubble.

Wu had worked for Xingbao for about five years. He is survived by a wife and two daughters.

Xingbao Mining, a privately owned company, employs 50 to 60 workers in its mine. The company refused to grant an interview to Beijing Times reporters.

Local villagers are not surprised at the roof collapse, they told the Beijing Times reporters. They say that a number of small private companies operate mines in the area, often using inadequate roof and wall supports in the mineshafts. Once the coal is removed, the walls are weakened and the roof may easily collapse.

The second accident took place at Da'anshan Coal Mine at about 4:40 AM on October 7 when a coal-mud flow buried three miners. They had died of suffocation when their bodies were recovered.

Coal mines in the greater Beijing area have been ordered repeatedly to enhance safety and remove any potential dangers, according to Beijing Municipal Administration of Production Safety.

Thirty people have been killed in 18 coal mine accidents this year in the Beijing area, according to the municipal administration on coal mine safety.

(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2004)

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