China: 2 coal mine accidents leave 40 dead (UPDATE)

At least 40 miners were killed in two separate explosions in southwestern China in the last 24 hours.

China coal miners hat

This picture taken on December 5, 2012, shows the closed Shangchang Coal Mine in Fuyuan, in China‘s southwestern province of Yunnan, a day after an explosion killed 17 people.


The first accident happened Friday night. A gas blast at a mine in Guizhou province killed 12 workers and injured another two, Al Jazeera reported, citing state media.

On Saturday afternoon, 28 people were killed and 9 others were trapped after an explosion at a colliery in neighboring Sichuan province.

Xinhua news agency reported 108 miners were working underground at the time of the blast at the Taozigou mine, near Luzhou city.

Most of the workers apparently escaped.

The blast appears to have been caused by high gas density due to poor ventilation, Fu Jianhua, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said at a press conference.

China’s mines are some of the world’s deadliest, and though authorities have worked to improve conditions, regulations are often ignored.

Deputy governor of Sichuan Liu Jie said the Taozigou coal mine should be shut down “as soon as possible” and that all the province’s coal mines should suspend production while their practices and facilities are reviews.


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