Eighteen miners were killed in a coal mine gas leak in Ningwu County, north China's Shanxi Province.
A collapse happened in the ground within the mining area of Dahuiyao Coal Mine in Ningwu County around yesterday noon, which opened a permanently closed area beneath the coal mine shaft and caused a fire, producing large amount of harmful gas, said sources from Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Work Safety.
Altogether 34 miners were working beneath the shaft when the accident happened. Three of them escaped the site of the accident.
Rescuers later lifted 14 more miners out of the shaft, of whom, one died in hospital. By 10:00 AM, the rescuers found the remains of the 17 other miners trapped in the mishap.
With vast coal reserves, Shanxi Province, commonly known as "sea of coal, is the biggest coal producer in China. However, lots of fatal accidents in association with the mining industry occur in the province each year.
One recent accident with big fatalities in the same county fell on July 7 when a blast caused by explosives illegally stored at villager's home happened, killing 47 people, including school children, and injuring 28 more.
(Xinhua News Agency August 5, 2006)