Local authorities have detained two coal mine owners for ignoring government orders to close their mines, which has led to seven miners being trapped by a flooding accident that happened on Tuesday in northeast China's Liaoning Province.
"Cui Jingzhu and Gao Sihai are assisting the investigation into the accident which occurred at around 8:00 PM Tuesday in Benxi Autonomous County of Manchu Nationality," a police statement read.
They were found to have continued mining in the collieries even though the county government called a halt to production for safety checks last December. "They resorted to night production after their collieries were sealed up on January 5," the local authorities said.
Four days later, Cui Jingzhu's coal mine was flooded, also affecting the adjacent mine run by Gao Sihai.
Chances of survival for the seven miners still missing appear slim. "The seven trapped miners are still missing as the tunnels were more than 50 meters under the current water level," said Fu Zhenyi, head of the rescue team.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2007)