China coalmine blast kills 44 (Second Lead)February 22nd, 2009 - 11:47 am ICT by IANS
Taiyuan (China), Feb 22 (Xinhua) At least 44 workers were killed and many more remained trapped Sunday following an explosion in a coalmine in China’s northern Shanxi Province, officials said.
There were 436 workers in the coal mine when the explosion occurred at around 2 a.m.
Initial reports said that 11 people were killed in the blast, but health officials later confirmed that 44 workers have died.
The Tunlan Coal Mine is operated by the Shanxi Coking Coal Group, based in the provincial capital of Taiyuan.
Emergency and medical Officials have rushed to the site to conduct rescue operation.
Of the 340 workers, who managed to come out of the mine after the blast, 114 have been shifted to hospitals.
Zhang Baoshun, provincial Communist Party committee chief, has urged the rescue officials to use scientific methods to prevent secondary disasters.
More than 40 ambulances have been called to the accident site.
The Shanxi Coking Coal Group is one of China’s largest coking coal producers. The Tunlan Coal Mine has an annual production capacity of five 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 The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures with many occurring at illegal mines.