NE China coal mine accident

Turning to a coal mine accident which killed two people and trapped 13 others in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province…

No progress has been reported after three days of rescue efforts for the trapped miners.

Flood inundated the Xuxiang Colliery in Hegang City on Monday evening, trapping 15 miners.

Two of them have been confirmed dead, but the whereabouts are still unknown for the remaining 13.

SIOUNDBITE: WANG KUIYUAN, Spokesman for the emergency rescue headquarters
“It’s difficult to drill through the shaft as there were more rocks than coal. Meanwhile, several sources of flood water have converged underground, slowing down the pumping process.”

The spokesman says rescuers finally drilled into the shaft Thursday, only to find the location was wrong.

He says the miscalculation was due to old hydraulic mining techniques prevalent in the area 20 years ago.

SIOUNDBITE: WANG KUIYUAN, Spokesman for the emergency rescue headquarters
“Rescuers were unable to work out the exact location of the flood. The old mining technology changed the underground geological data.”

Wang says the rescue headquarters are keeping the miners’ families informed of the rescue progress on daily basis.

He adds that family members are becoming desperate now that the 72-hour golden period for rescue had ended.

Hegang is a major coal producer.

Xuxiang Colliery is privately owned, with an annual output of 150,000 tonnes.

According to the spokesman, mine production had been suspended for a safety overhaul when the accident happened.

And the workers were down there for maintenance instead of mining.

He says the accident was caused by a mud-rock flow, which was the aftermath of recent downpours.

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