Police arrested eight people Wednesday afternoon on charges relating to a major fire at a coalmine in north China's Shanxi Province on Sunday.
Meanwhile, rescuers had dug 26.5 meters towards the mine shaft by 4 p.m. Wednesday, but the fate of the 19 miners trapped underground remained unclear, local sources said.
Rescuers, fearing for the miners' safety, did not pour foam into the shaft to extinguish fire and instead just sealed the entrance with foam, the sources said.
Shanxi Deputy Provincial Governor Jin Shanzhong and a team of officials arrived at the scene Wednesday morning to help organize and coordinate the rescue work, they added.
The Public Security Bureau of Huozhou City, where the Chiyu mine was located, had been hunting the suspects, including mine manager Zhang Jixiong, for two days and two nights.
( China Daily August 8, 2002)