A mine manager was to blame for a gas blast that killed 13 people in central China's Hunan Province on Nov. 8, a local work safety official said Thursday.
Li Quansheng, deputy head of the Xinpo Coal Mine in Simenzhou Township, Leiyang City, was accused of ordering miners to use electric drills in the tunnel despite being informed that the gas density had exceeded safe limits, the official said.
The sparks caused by the electric drills triggered the blast, said He De'an, of the Hunan Provincial Work Safety Bureau.
Police are searching for both Li and head of the mine Li Quanfa who disappeared after the accident, He said.
The blast occurred at 8:35 AM on Nov. 8 at the Xinpo Coal Mine when 23 miners were working underground. Ten were rescued, nine bodies were recovered from the shaft, and the search for the other four missing was abandoned 12 days later, as they were unlikely to have survived the high intensity of toxic gas and the collapse of the mine shaft.
The privately-owned mine went into operation in 1997, producing 30,000 tons of coal annually.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2006)