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Number of Trapped Miners Could Rise
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Latest checks show the number of trapped workers in a flooded coal mine in north China's Shanxi Province may rise to 57, rescuers said Sunday afternoon. The initial reported figure was 44.

A team at the rescue headquarters said the number of miners trapped underground was likely to be 57. This figure was arrived at after they'd made investigations among the miners' families.

The flooding took place at 8:30 PM Thursday at Xinjing Coal Mine, a legal coal producing township in Zuoyun County, northern Shanxi. The mine has an annual production capacity of 90,000 tons.

Rescuers had said earlier that 145 miners were working underground when the flooding occurred and 101 managed to escape.

But local safety officials appear to have tried to cover up the accident by saying that only five miners had been trapped.

Rescue teams are currently still attempting to get an exact number of trapped miners by checking with families.

Additional pumping machinery is now being used to speed up the removal of water from the flooded pit. 

Police have detained a number of the mine's managerial staff. An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.

(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2006)

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