A gas blast at a coal mine in China’s central province of Hunan killed seven people yesterday, state media said, the latest in a string of accidents in the country’s dangerous mining industry.
The explosion killed the miners yesterday morning at the mine in Lianyuan city, Xinhua news agency said, quoting the local government.
The latest accident came as rescuers in another part of the same province were racing to save a dozen coal miners still missing, nearly four days after their mine flooded, state media said.
Rescue workers pulled four miners out of the mine in Leiyang city yesterday, but 12 remained missing, state television said.
Rescue of the remaining miners had been complicated since water levels were at head height in parts of the mine, it said.
Water rushed into the mine on Wednesday evening, trapping 16 miners underground as 24 others managed to escape, Xinhua said.
The accident was not reported to the government until the following day, delaying rescue efforts by 12 hours, it said, adding that the mine’s owner, Liu Yaping, was now in police custody.
The local government could not be reached for comment.
Accidents in China’s mines occur frequently, but tighter safety standards appear to be working, with the latest official figures stating 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents last year, down 19 percent on 2010.