66 dead, 17 missing after coal mine blast in Xinjiang

UPDATED: 10:24, July 12, 2005

Till 00:30 on July 12, 66 of the 87 miners underground had been confirmed dead in the gas blast at the Shenlong Coal Mine in Fukang County of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at about 02:30 on July 11.

Four people have survived while 17 are still missing.

Yu Zhengui, deputy general secretary of the people's government of the autonomous region, the chances of survival for the 17 missing miners were very slim.

A working group led by Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety and Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, arrived at the site at about 14:00 on July 11. They conveyed the order by the State Council, which demands all-out efforts to search for the missing and cure the injured and at the same time press on with investigation into the cause.

The company that owns the coal mine was established in 2001. Department concerned found at the mine major irregularities such as production beyond capacity with no safety certificate.

After the blast, the regional government issued an urgent circular asking all mines under risky operation to be halted for inspection.

The local government is still dealing with the aftermath of the accident.

By People's Daily Online

People's Daily Online --- http://english.people.com.cn/