Shaft collapses at coal mine in southwest China, killing 5September 25th, 2011 - 9:37 pm ICT by BNO News
KUNMING, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — Five people were killed on late Saturday afternoon when a shaft collapsed at a coal mine in southwest China, state-run media reported on Sunday. Two others were injured.
The accident happened at around 3.20 p.m. local time at a pit in Qilin District of Qujing, a prefecture-level city in eastern Yunnan province. The mine belongs to Yunwei Group which is affiliated to the Yunnan Coal Chemical Industry Group Co., Ltd.
According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, a total of 23 people were working at the mine when the cave-in happened. Sixteen of those were able to escape safely while seven others became trapped underground.
Xinhua said five bodies were retrieved from the mine on Sunday morning. The two other victims were freed and taken to an area hospital, although their conditions are not considered to be life-threatening. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Safety conditions at mines in China have significantly improved in recent years, but they remain among the world’s most dangerous with 1,083 fatalities in the first seven months of 2011 alone. There were 2,433 fatalities in 2010 and 2,631 in 2009.
China in recent years shut down scores of small mines to improve safety and efficiency in the mining industry. The country has also ordered all mines to build emergency shelter systems by June 2013 which are to be equipped with machines to produce oxygen and air conditioning, protective walls and airtight doors to protect workers against toxic gases and other hazardous factors.
The first manned test of such a permanent underground chamber was carried out in August when around 100 people - including managers, engineers, miners, medical staff, and the chamber’s developers - took part in a 48-hour test at a mine owned by the China National Coal Group in the city of Shuozhou in northern China’s Shanxi Province.
One of the worst mining accidents in China in recent years happened in November 2009 when 104 workers were killed after several explosions at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province.
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Tags: bno, coal mine, emergency shelter, industry group, manned test, medical staff, mining industry, national coal, northern china, prefecture, protective walls, safety conditions, saturday afternoon, seven months, shanxi province, southwest china, toxic gases, underground chamber, xinhua news agency, yunnan province