A gas explosion at a state-owned coal mine in Hengyang City, Hunan Province killed 29 workers, and six other workers were rescued. The cause of the blast is believed to be from a large burst of gas in the mine that was ignited by sparks from machines. The Washington Post reports:
Five of the workers were rescued, while one climbed out of an air shaft of the Xialiuchong Coal Mine, the statement said.
The work safety administration said rescue work was complete as no other miners were working at the time of the explosion.
CCTV said that the mine’s operating license had been revoked in the first half of this year because it did not adopt measures to pump out dangerous gases from underground, but that the mine continued production without permission.
Although there has been improvement in mining conditions over the past few years and a slow drop in annual fatalities, China’s coalmines are still the deadliest in the world. BBC adds:
In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, although this was an improvement on the toll of 2,631 a year earlier.
The industry’s safety record has improved in recent years as smaller, illegal mines have been closed, but labour rights groups say the actual death toll is likely much higher than official statistics, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.
Annual fatalities are about now at about one-third of the high of nearly 7,000 who died in 2002.