11 killed, 96 trapped in China coal mine blast (Lead)

February 22nd, 2009 - 10:34 am ICT by IANS  

Taiyuan (China) Feb 22 (Xinhua) At least 11 miners were killed and 96 trapped in a coal mine following a gas explosion in northern China Sunday, officials said.
The blast occurred at 2 a.m. in the Tunlan Coal Mine belonging to the Shanxi Jiaomei coal group in Gujiao city in Shanxi province, the State Work Safety Administration said.

A total of 436 miners were working underground the mine at the time of the accident, but 320 miners managed to come out of the mine after the blast.

The safety administration said that 114 people have been admitted to hospitals and that the condition of 24 miners was critical.

Zhang Baoshun, the provincial Communist Party committee chief who is leading the rescue work at the accident site, urged to use scientific methods in rescue to prevent more casualties.

So far, 57 rescuers from seven professional rescue teams have arrived at the mine to search for the trapped workers, said Zhang.

The Shanxi Coking Coal Group is one of China’s largest coking coal producers. The Tunlan Coal Mine has an annual production capacity of 5 million tonnes.

Accidents in Chinese mines kill an estimated 10,000 people every year. The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures with many occurring at illegal mines.

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