SHIJIAZHUANG: A gas explosion in a colliery in Tangshan, North China's Hebei Province, has killed 54 miners and left 22 missing.
At least 186 miners were working underground when the blast occurred at 3:30 pm in Liuguantun Mine in Tangshan's Kaiping District.
By press time, 110 miners had escaped, but 22 others were still trapped in the coal pit. Rescuers are on the scene.
Upon receiving reports of the tragedy, Vice-Governor Fu Shuangjian and leading officials with the provincial industrial safety watchdog rushed to the mine to direct rescue operations and conduct an investigation into the accident.
This is the third incident in two weeks involving hundreds of miners.
On Tuesday, rescuers recovered the body of the last miner missing in a November 27 explosion in Northeast China, bringing the final death toll in that mishap to 171.
The blast at Dongfeng Coal Mine in Heilongjiang Province was sparked when airborne coal dust caught fire.
Also yesterday, rescuers at Sigou Coal Mine in Central China's Henan Province were trying to save 42 miners trapped underground after the shaft flooded, a Xinhua report said.
Divers have been dispatched for the search, and rescuers have also fed a sonar device into the mine to listen for signs of life. So far, there has been no indication that the workers survived.
A total of 76 miners were working underground at the time, and 34 escaped.
Source: China Daily