Gas explosion traps 18 in Chinese coal mine

December 18th, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 18 (DPA) A gas explosion trapped 18 people in a coal mine in central China’s Hunan province, the state media said Thursday.Rescuers were searching for the missing miners at the Guaziyan mine in Lianyuan city, the government’s Xinhua news agency quoted local officials as saying.

Another 14 miners escaped after the explosion ripped through the shaft where 32 miners were working Wednesday, the agency said.

The Lianyuan city government ordered an investigation and suspended mining pending safety checks at all coal mines in the area.

Guaziyan mine opened in 1997 with a licensed annual capacity of 30,000 tons of coal, the agency said.

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 The accidents are often triggered by outdated equipment and poor safety measures with many occurring at illegal mines.

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