Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Dozens of workers are buried under the rubble after the collapse of a building site in the city of Chengdu (Sichuan). Authorities involved in relief operations can not say yet how many men are buried. The incident happened two days ago, at two o'clock in the afternoon, on the construction site of a high school in the district of Chenghua. So far, firefighters have managed to retrieve three people from the collapse and 16 who were trapped.
Meanwhile the death toll from the Pingdingshan coal mine (Henan) has risen to 44, with 35 still trapped in a shaft after an underground gas explosion. Of the 93 people who were working in the mine at the time, only 14 managed to escape to safety. They are hospitalized with burns and lung problems.
The mine had been subjected to restructuring, and while not yet authorised, had already started operations. Tongyan Qi, deputy district Pingdingshan was forced to resign along with Zhang Xizhi, the local government authority for the coal industry. Li Xinjun, the legal representative of the mine, and deputy heads Hou Min and Deng Qun were arrested.
Two days ago, another mine in Henan was the scene of an accident, killing 6 miners and 7 people from the emergency rescue team. From what is known so far, electric wires there were not isolated triggered an explosion in a shaft of the gold mine in Sanmenxia. Only 6 miners managed to escape.
The majority of accidents in mines and construction sites are due to laxity in the application of safety regulations.
China's mines are the most dangerous in the world. The official number of deaths for 2008 is 3500, but according to non-governmental organizations the real figure is 20 thousand a year.
After serious accidents in recent years, Beijing has launched a campaign of zero tolerance, but has failed to resolve the problem, also because of collusion between owners and local authorities.