Toll in China coal mine accident rises to 18

July 2nd, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Xi’an (China), July 2 (Xinhua) The death toll in Tuesday’s shaft collapse in a coal mine in northwestern China has risen to 18 with officials confirming all 16 miners trapped inside were found dead Wednesday. At least 28 workers were at work in the state-run Huisen Liangshuijing coal mine when the accident happened Tuesday in Shaanxi province, 600 km north of provincial capital Xi’an, according to the provincial emergency response office.

Only 12 miners were brought to safety while the rest remained trapped inside, officials said, adding that two of the 12 rescued workers died later in a hospital because of gas poisoning.

Rescuers had searched for the trapped miners, who were later confirmed dead Wednesday.

Rescuers said heavy smoke and dust in the tunnel hampered the operation. The collapse might release huge amounts of the toxic gas in the coal layers, which would be extremely dangerous to those trapped.

Work safety officials are investigating the cause of the collapse.

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 The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures, with many occurring at illegal mines.

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