Sat, Sep 01, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Death toll from gas blast in mine rises to 37, Beijing says

AFP, BEIJING

The death toll from a gas explosion at a coal mine in China has risen to 37, with another 10 people trapped, authorities said yesterday.

There were 154 workers underground when the blast hit the Xiaojiawan mine in China’s Sichuan Province on Wednesday morning.

Rescue workers have struggled to gain access to the area where the miners are trapped, hampered by temperatures as high as 90°C and high levels of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.

Emergency crews have pulled 34 bodies from the mine, while another three were rescued, but later died of their injuries, Xinhua news agency said. Another 17 are being treated for serious injuries.

The city government could not immediately be reached for comment, but a statement posted online confirmed that the death toll had risen to 37. State media said on Thursday that 26 had died.

It is believed to be the worst coal mining accident to hit China since an explosion last November in a mine in southwestern Yunnan Province killed 43 people.

It is not clear whether the 10 remaining trapped miners are still alive, but state media reports said 145 more rescuers had been dispatched to the site on Thursday.

The China Daily, quoting the government’s head of mine safety, said the roof of the mine was also in danger of collapsing, further hampering rescue efforts.

Authorities have detained three mine owners and frozen the mine’s accounts while they investigate the incident and have begun discussing compensation with the victims’ families, the China Daily said.

China’s mines are among the world’s deadliest due to lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency.

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