Ten people alleged to be responsible for a gas blast accident that killed 15 miners have been arrested, police in central China's Hunan Province announced Wednesday.
Mo Zhixiang, the boss of Hongfa coal mine in Niumasi Town, Shaodong County of Hunan Province, who had been on the run for ten days, was caught on March 13 in southwest China's Yunnan Province when he tried to flee to bordering Myanmar. The other six owners have also been arrested in southern Guangzhou and Guangxi as well as two people suspected of covering up the accident.
Mo and all the other mine managers fled the site after being informed of the gas blast at around 11:00 AM on March 6. The accident was not reported to the local work safety watchdog until 2:00 PM.
When the accident occurred gas had built up to dangerous levels because of poor ventilation. The immediate cause of the explosion was electric sparks triggered by an electrician who was checking equipment, said sources with the work safety bureau.
With an expired license and no safety permit, Hongfa coal mine had been ordered to stop production last August but resumed operation without permission in late February and mined unapproved coal beds.
The county government is determined to close it down this year, said a work safety bureau spokesman.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2007)