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Rescuers pump out water to save 13 trapped miners

(China Daily)

08:36, October 14, 2011

Workers lay water pipes on Thursday to rescue 13 miners trapped underground when a coal mine in Jidong county of Heilongjiang province flooded on Tuesday.(Xinhua Photo)

JIXI, Heilongjiang - China's safety watchdog said on Thursday that a mine owner failed to inform local authorities about a flood on Tuesday that trapped 13 miners in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

The local government did not know about the accident until it was tipped off by the public on Wednesday afternoon, the State Administration of Work Safety said.

Twenty-four miners were working underground at the Jindi coal mine in Jixi city, Heilongjiang province, when the accident occurred, with 11 of them managing to escape.

The owner of the mine, surnamed Xiong, initially denied having workers trapped at the flooded mine and finally revealed the truth after four hours of police interrogation, authorities said. He has already been in police custody.

As of Thursday, 480 rescuers have been dispatched to the rescue scene, including rescue forces from neighboring coal mines.

"Although I don't know the miners personally, I feel like it is my brother trapped underground," said rescuer Guan Xingbo, 45, before jumping into a cart that took him to the pit hundreds of meters deep.

Guan came from neighboring Yintai coal mine with 40 other miners and their rich underground experience gives them expertise for the rescue.

Six ambulances with their engines on were waiting outside the pit and water pumps have been draining water from the mine at 430 cubic meters per hour.

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