05/08/2017, 13.55
CHINA
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Hunan, gas leak kills 18 miners in a coal mine

37 other brought to safety. Arrest series related to the accident. The dead in the mine do not stop. Underlying the tragedies there is often corruption and non-compliance with security standards.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A gas leak has killed at least 18 workers in a coal mine in Hunan province, central China. 37 other miners involved in the incident yesterday were rescued and taken to hospital urgently, according to Xinhua quoting local authorities.

The Jilinqiao mine is located in Huangfenqiao. The police, according to the same sources, had already arrested an unspecified number of people in connection with the tragedy, while investigators are investigating how the uncontrolled gas leak occurred.

China is the largest coal producer in the world and deadly accidents in mines are frequent. Last March, in Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China, 17 men died because a lift crashed into the access pit.

In December alone, explosions in two different coal mines in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang killed at least 59 people. Last October, in Chongqing District, Central China, 33 miners died in an explosion in the local mine and in September at least 18 lost their lives due to an explosion in the mine in the northwestern region of Ningxia.

In general safety standards are very low. According to official statistics in 2015, 598 workers were killed in coal mines. Although the number of victims is decreasing, many human rights groups believe that real numbers are much higher, as many accidents are not reported due to fear of closure.

Accidents are often caused by corruption: miners - and often the owner is the same state - seek profit margins at the expense of miners’ safety. Over the last few years, due to the over production of coal, the government plans to close at least 1000 of the most obsolete mines.

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