Chances slim for 13 trapped coal miners in NE China
The government in Hegang city, where a coal mine fire on Wednesday left 13 miners trapped, issued an urgent circular on Sunday asking that all 106 coal mines in the city halt production. The directive applies even to licensed facilities.
The government sent more than 106 staff to monitor all mines around the clock to ensure 100 percent compliance.
The circular also directed all miners working underground to leave the coal mines immediately.
The 13 trapped miners, in the Taiyuan Coal Mine, have little hope of survival because of high concentrations of toxic carbon monoxide gas, which have hampered rescue work, according to rescue sources. It’s also estimated that the underground fire will take at least a week to put out.
The fire began at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday in the facility in Hegang, which is in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. Preliminary investigations showed that the accident was caused by an underground cable fire or improper use of welding equipment.
There was initially confusion over the incident. The government confirmed that a fire did occur, but the mine owner insisted that all workers had escaped safely. The provincial work safety administration, however, confirmed that some miners were trapped on the basis of its own initial investigations.