Safety in China

Cave-in at Chinese coal mine kills two, leaves 20 trapped underground

  • Facility used to be run by local prison but it is not clear if inmates still work there
  • Accident happened as 334 miners were working underground
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 October, 2018, 3:24pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 October, 2018, 11:14pm

Two coal miners were killed and 20 others remain trapped following a cave-in at a mine in east China, state media reported on Sunday.

The incident happened about 11pm on Saturday while 334 miners were working at the Longyun Coal Mine in Yuncheng county, Shandong province, Xinhua said.

Most of them managed to escape but 22 were trapped when a rock slide blocked the drainage tunnel they were building. Two of them were later reported to have been killed.

As of Sunday morning, more than 170 rescuers, including firefighters and other specialists, had arrived at the site and were involved in the rescue effort, the report said. It did not provide any information about the people trapped or the state of their health.

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The mission is being led by Huang Yuzhi, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Emergency Management, which was established earlier this year, the report said.

He is reported to have instructed rescue teams to collect as much evidence as possible while searching for the trapped workers for use in subsequent inquiries into the causes of the accident.

Telephone calls to the coal mine went unanswered on Sunday.

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Previously run by the county prison, the mine was transferred to the state-owned Longkou Mining Group, a subsidiary of Shangdong Energy Group, in 2016 after five years of negotiations prompted by a central government order for prions to quit “highly dangerous” industries. The report did not say if prison inmates still worked at the site.

However, the mine, which has estimated reserves of 375 million tonnes and an annual capacity of 2.4 million tonnes, is still encircled by high walls as a reminder of its former owners.