Rescuers striving to retrieve flood-trapped coal miners in SW China

15:11, April 25, 2011      

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Rescuers prepare to enter the well at the flooded Xiao'aozi Coal Mine in Panxian County, southwest China's Guizhou Province, April 25, 2011. The coal mine was flooded Sunday evenning, when 45 miners were working under the mine. Thirty-seven of them came out the pit safely while eight were trapped. (Xinhua)

Rescuers on Monday morning were racing to rescue eight trapped miners after a coal mine in southwest China's Guizhou Province flooded early Sunday evening.

A team of 32 rescuers are pumping water out of the mine in Panxian County with two pumps, each capable of drawing 65 cubic meters of water per hour, Tan Bo, deputy director of the county's publicity department, told Xinhua from the accident site via telephone.

The water level has dropped a little, but rescuers were still unable to pass through the submerged tunnel to search for the miners, Tan said.

There is "a large quantity of water" inside the mine, but it is not clear exactly how much, Tan said.

The accident occurred at about 7 p.m. Sunday, when 45 miners were working in the mine. Thirty-seven of them scrambled to safety, while eight other miners failed to escape.

Investigations into the cause of the accident are underway.

The flooded mine is around 330 kilometers away from the provincial capital of Guiyang.

The mine is capable of producing 150,000 tonnes of coal per year, and was operating legally.

This accident is the third coal mine accident in Panxian County this year. On March 12, a gas explosion at an illegal coal mine killed 19 workers.

On March 28, a gas leak at another coal mine in the county killed eight workers and injured three.

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Source: Xinhua
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