China Mine Blast Kills 20 And Leaves 17 Trapped

by
michal
(NYTIMES)

A coal mine explosion in central China early Saturday killed 21 workers and trapped 16 others underground, China’s state-run news media said.

The accident is the latest tragedy to hit this nation’s mining industry, one of the world’s most dangerous.

The official Xinhua News Agency said rescuers were trying to reach the trapped miners after a gas explosion occurred about 6 a.m. Saturday, in the city of Yuzhou in Henan Province.

Later in the day, China Central Television said that the bodies of 21 miners had been recovered and identified but that six rescue teams were trying to reach 16 others trapped underground beneath tons of coal dust. It was not clear whether the 16 had survived the blast or how far beneath the surface they were.

Mining accidents are so common in China that they rarely make newspaper front pages. Last year, more than 2,600 people were killed in mining accidents in China. By comparison, there were only 34 mining deaths in the United States, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The Chinese government has repeatedly vowed to improve the safety of mining conditions, and nearly every year safety regulators announce the closing of thousands of illegal mines, which tend to be the most dangerous.