It seems 44 miners have been trapped in a flooded coal mine in Zuoyun County, north China's Shanxi Province, rescuers said Saturday night.
A total of 145 miners were working underground when the flooding accident took place on Thursday night, and 101 managed to escape, rescuers said.
Local safety authorities had reported earlier that five miners were trapped. In this sense, the actual situation of the accident was covered up, according to Gong Anku, head of the Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Work Safety.
Miners who survived the flooding confirmed that more than five miners were working underground when the accident happened.
Nine managerial persons of the coal mine have been detained by the police. However, the head of the coal mine has gone into hiding.
Some managerial staff of the coal mine had rented taxis to transfer family members of the trapped miners to the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi's close neighbor, to prevent them from rioting and speaking to the press, the miners said.
The flooding took place at 8:30 PM. Thursday at Xinjing Coal Mine, a legal township coal producing entity in Zuoyun County, northern Shanxi. The mine has an annual production capacity of 90,000 tons.
Two Xinhua correspondents have rushed to Datong, the administrative base for Zuoyun County, to investigate the incident.
Nearly 200 rescuers are working at the mine site. The cause of the flooding is being investigated.
(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2006)