Investigations have revealed that the fatal coal mine blast in northeast China's Jilin Province on July 4 was caused by illegal operation.
Before the gas explosion occurred, the privately run Fuqiang coal mine had been told to close because of safety problems. But the unlicensed mine kept working despite the order, according to provincial governor Hong Hu.
On July 3, the eve of the gas explosion, authorities in charge of production safety visited the coal mine, again shutting it down and forcing all miners working underground to leave the pit, according to deputy governor Li Jieche, who is also in charge of industry.
But the mine owner resumed illegal operation on the night of July 4, directly provoking the tragedy, Li said.
Rescuers had found two bodies so far and little hope of survival is held for the other 37 miners trapped underground.
(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2002)