Mon, Sep 03, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Safety lapses blamed for mine blast

CHINESE DISASTER:Xinhua says too many miners were at work at the time, safety equipment was inadequate and there was a high density of gas

AP, BEIJING

An initial investigation into China’s worst mine accident in nearly three years blames “chaotic” management for sending too many workers underground and disregarding safety measures, state media said yesterday. The blast killed 43 people.

Xinhua news agency said that though the Xiaojiawan coal mine in Sichuan Province was licensed to operate, it had been exceeding its production capacity in violation of safety standards.

Rescuers were still searching for three miners who remained trapped underground after the explosion on Wednesday afternoon in the coal-rich city of Panzhihua, but their chances of survival were slim. State media said the three workers were believed to be located at the center of the blast.

A preliminary probe found that the accident happened because production had not been stopped despite a high density of gas and that safety monitoring equipment was inadequate, Xinhua said.

More miners had been sent to work underground than were allowed to, the report cited the head of the State Administration of Work Safety, Yang Dongliang (楊棟梁), as saying.

Police have detained the mine owners — Zhengjin Industry and Trade Co — and the Sichuan government has launched a safety check on all coal mines.

There were 154 miners working at the mine when the explosion occurred, and 108 survivors have been pulled to the surface.Of the miners who made it to the surface, 50 are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and seven are in critical condition, Xinhua said.

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