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Mine Cave-ins Kill 5, Halt Rescue Work

A cave-in at a colliery in Henan Province killed five miners on Saturday, while another suspended rescue and recovery work yesterday at the Guangdong Province coal mine flooded on August 7.

An official from Henan's work safety administration said on Sunday that the accident there took place at Xuzhuang Xinghua No.2 Coal Mine in Dengfeng City at 11:50 AM the day before as 29 were working underground.

Twenty-four were evacuated from the scene but the remaining five were trapped and killed. Their bodies were found on Sunday, the first three at about 9 AM and the other two at 3:30 PM.

According to reports, the mine director had decided to organize rescue efforts himself instead of reporting the incident straightaway as required. The local work safety supervision department wasn't aware of it until 11 PM Saturday, when they said they immediately sent 300 rescuers to the spot.

The colliery is a fully-certified joint stock mine with annual production capacity of 60,000 tons. Overhaul work was underway when the accident happened.

The mine director has been detained by police and further investigations are underway.

Work at Daxing Coal Mine in Guangdong's Xingning City where 123 miners were trapped after flooding over three weeks ago was suspended after a cave-in in the early hours of Sunday, said rescue workers.

Experts attributed the cave-in to the mine's long-time immersion in water, adding that it would endanger the safety of rescuers.

Rescuers described the trapped miners' chances of survival as slim two days after the accident, and three bodies have been recovered so far.

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2005)

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