China coalmine blast toll rises to 73 (Third Lead)

February 22nd, 2009 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Taiyuan (China), Feb 22 (Xinhua) The toll in China’s deadly coalmine blast early Sunday has risen to 73, officials said.
Earlier reports said 44 workers were killed and many more remained trapped following the blast at a coalmine in China’s northern Shanxi Province.

Officials said there were 436 workers in the coalmine at the time of the blast at 2.17 a.m.

Of the 340 workers, who managed to come out of the mine after the blast, 113 were admitted to hospitals, and dozens remained in critical conditions.

The Tunlan Coal Mine is operated by the Shanxi Coking Coal Group, based in the provincial capital of Taiyuan.

Emergency and medical Officials rushed to the site to conduct rescue operations.

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 The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures with many occurring at illegal mines.

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