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Eleven Held for Mine Flood, 1st Body Recovered

Eleven people held responsible for the coal mine flooding that trapped at least 123 people in Guangdong have been apprehended by local police, according to rescue headquarters on Wednesday.


They include the owner, manager, board chairman and chief technician of the mine where the accident took place on Sunday. All of them had gone missing afterward, hindering rescuers' attempts to find out exactly how many miners had been working underground at the time.


The first body from the accident was recovered yesterday morning, and police are trying to identify the victim through DNA testing. 


The same day, Shi Quan, on duty at the mineshaft, and Zeng Xianji, from Xingning City Coal Industry Bureau, were also given disciplinary warnings for not reporting water levels accurately or in time.


Rescue headquarters said anyone else who neglected their duties would be removed from post immediately.


Two mayors have been suspended, the provincial government announced yesterday. He Zhengba, mayor of Meizhou, and Zeng Xianghai, mayor of Xingning, were accused of incompetence in supervising coal mine production in their area.


The accident occurred at 1:30 PM on Sunday in the privately-owned and unlicensed Daxing Coal Mine in Huanghuai Town, Xingning City in Meizhou Prefecture of south China's Guangdong Province.


(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2005)

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