As of Monday morning, rescuers have recovered bodies of 16 miners trapped underground after a sudden colliery coal and gas eruption in east China's Jiangxi Province, and said there is a little hope for the survival of three other missing miners.
By 7:45 a.m. Monday, the missing miners have been trapped in the collapsed mine for over 30 hours, said the rescuers who are still cleaning up cinder and collapsed fragments from the colliery tunnel.
The accident occurred at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday in Jianxin Colliery based in Shangtang Township of Fengcheng City when 283 miners were working underground. About 360 tons of coal fragments filled up a 30-meter-long tunnel.
By Monday morning, rescuers have cleared 22 meters of the tunnel. The underground gas density is about 0.2-0.25 percent, which is within the safety permit, said an official in charge of the Fengcheng Coal Mining Bureau.
The provincial commission for work safety has ordered all state-owned coal mines and other highly dangerous industries to stop production to check up potential safety hazards, without indicating when the operation can be resumed.
The Jianxin Coal Mine, established in 1958 and affiliated to Jiangxi Coal Group Co., is a large state-owned mine.
The mine, troubled by high gas density, had experienced more than 180 gas outburst accidents since the 1970s. The last two accidents in November 2003 and August 2006 claimed 49 lives and five lives respectively.
Since 2004, the bureau has invested more than 200 million yuan (about 27 million U.S. dollars) in projects to make use of gas. It has succeeded in generating electricity with gas.
The mine company has informed its insurer to provide compensations to families of the victims.