At least 21 dead after coal mine explosion in Chinese mine

Friday, May 14, 2010

At least 21 miners in China are dead after an explosion at a coal mine in the southwestern Guizhou province earlier today, according to reports.

Location of the Anshun prefecture within the Guizhou province.

The incident occurred at the Yuanyang mines in the city of Anshun. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, there were ten other workers in the mine who were rescued. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, although it is being investigated, Xinhua reports. The colliery is operated by the government of the local township.

A rescue worker present at the scene says five of the survivors were hospitalised due to carbon monoxide inhalation. "We arrived at the mine to carry out the rescue at midnight, and helped bring three of the survivors out of the shaft," he told Xinhua.

Despite an initiative to increase the safety of collieries, Chinese mines are among the most dangerous in the world; official statistics say 2,631 workers died in 1,616 separate incidents last year, although the figure is down 18% from 2008.