Signs of life from 12 trapped miners in SW China

08:47, May 30, 2011      

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Signs of life have been detected from 12 miners who were trapped in a flooded coal mine on Sunday in Guizhou province, an official said, while local authorities said the owner of the mine should be held responsible for the accident.

The 12 miners were still trapped underground on Sunday evening at the Fuhong Coal Mine near Guiyang city, capital of Guizhou province, said Yang Xiaoping, head of the city's work safety bureau.

The flooding occurred on Sunday morning when 58 miners were working in the shaft, said Yang.

Rescuers said they had heard sounds like those made by someone striking against rocks underground, according to Yang. "It means that there are survivors," he said.

Local police cordoned off the site. Eight ambulances were waiting at the mine.

Rescuers had been working for more than 10 hours to pump water out of the mine and try to reach the trapped miners, said Wang Qiang, 38, a local villager who works as a technician at the mine. They also drilled a vent into the shaft where they thought survivors might have gathered.

By Sunday afternoon, the water level in the shaft had fallen by more than 1.5 meters, said Yang. He said the water level must drop about another meter before rescuers can enter.

Local authorities said an investigation of the accident led them to conclude the owner of the mine should be held responsible for the accident.

It was unclear what had caused the flooding.

The mine, about 30 kilometers from Guiyang, is located in a mountainous area and can only be reached by a rough road.

"Most of the miners working here are not locals," Wang said.

"I never thought a mine accident would happen to my father," said a woman from a nearby village. She did not want to be named.

She said her father had been working 12 hours a day at the mine for the past ten years.

Source: China Daily
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