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  • » 07/21/2005, 00.00


    Death toll from mine blast rises to 26

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Rescuers have hauled six more bodies from a mine in northern China that was hit by a gas explosion this week, taking the final death toll to 26, state media said on Thursday.

    "The ventilation system underground was damaged by the gas blast and three tunnels caved in, which made it very difficult for us to search for the missing miners," rescue worker Du Shifu said.

    The blast ripped through the Number Five Coal Mine in Jinsuoguan Town at Tongchuan city in Shaanxi province on Tuesday when 40 miners were in the pit.

    Three miners from the 14 who were rescued were still in hospital, Xinhua news agency said. Police were investigating the mine owner, it said.

    China officially recorded about 2,700 mining fatalities in the first half of the year, with major accidents involving up to 29 fatalities more than doubling over the same period in 2004, official reports said.

    China's mines are considered the deadliest in the world, as safety is often sacrificed in pursuit of the fuel driving the country's rapid industrialization and economic growth.

    Official figures show more than 6,000 miners died in mine accidents in China last year although independent estimates say the real figure could be as high as 20,000. Mines falsify death counts to escape closure and fines.

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    See also

    21/03/2005 CHINA
    Coal mine explosions kill 60 in Shanxi

    30/11/2006 CHINA
    Two managers condemned for death of 166 miners in Shaanxi

    They received five-year jail terms for "negligence". After a fire broke out in their mine, they ordered miners to resume production; 166 were killed in a blast shortly afterwards.

    25/02/2005 CHINA
    The inexorable slaughter of Chinese miners: An overview

    15/03/2005 CHINA
    Mine explosion in northern China kills 16

    26/09/2006 CHINA
    2,900 die in Chinese mines over 8 months

    Although the extent of disasters is less this year, the situation remains serious despite government commitment. Official sources pointed to "collusion" between government officials and coal mine owners as being one of the causes.

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