All 33 coal miners trapped underground after a colliery explosion in southwest China have found dead. Work safety officials vowed to punish those responsible.
The bodies of the last 15 were retrieved from the Jinshangou mine in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing in the early hours.
A total of 35 miners were working underground at the privately-owned Jinshangou Coal Mine in Laisu Town in Chongqing Municipality’s Yongchuan District, when an explosion shook the mine around 11.30 am on Monday.
2 minors survived the explosion but rescue workers working around the clock could not find others alive. The rest of them were trapped in the pit following which rescuers had launched an all-out bid to search them. Over 80 rescuers found the bodies at around 2 pm and lifted them out of the shaft two hours later. All bodies have been recovered and rescuers were shown bowing their heads in memorial for the dead.
An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway and is being supervised by the State Administration of Work Safety. Though the cause of the explosion is still unknown, preliminary investigation showed that the colliery had exceeded its mining boundaries, was poorly ventilated, and had insufficient and malfunctioning equipment. According to the mine’s license, the design capacity is 60,000 coal every year.
Local government workers are identifying the dead and handling the aftermath.
Gas explosions inside mines are often caused when a flame or electrical spark ignites gas leaking from the coal seam. Ventilation system are supposed to prevent gas from becoming trapped.
China’s mining industry has long been among the world’s deadliest with frequent mine accident. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal but plans to shutter more than 1000 outdated mines as part of a broader plan to reduce overproduction.