25 dead after fire in Chinese coal mine

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

According to local media, 25 people have died in an illegal coal mine in central China, after a fire broke out there.

The incident occurred at the mines of the Dongxing Coal Mining Company, near the city of Zhengzhou, the capital of the Henan province. It is believed that the fire was started by an electrical fault, the Xinhua news agency reports. There were 31 total miners inside the mine; six were able to escape, but the others burnt to death.

The owner, manager, and an investor of the mine were taken into police custody on Monday. Their assets, and those of the mine, have been frozen by the authorities. It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze, although an investigation is underway.

China's mines are the deadliest in the world; according to Al Jazeera, several thousand miners die each year due to accidents in them. Earlier this month, over 30 people were killed in another coal mine in the northern part of the country, after a flood. The government has pledged to crack down upon illegal mines and enforce safety rules.