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2 dead, 6 still trapped in Hunan mine

By Zhi Yun  (China Daily)

10:09, July 10, 2012

Two miners have been confirmed dead and six others remain trapped under a flooded colliery pit for the fourth day in Hunan province, rescuers said on Monday.

The bodies of the two miners were lifted to the ground at 11 pm on Sunday, hours after eight of their colleagues were pulled out alive at the Qielichong colliery in Leiyang city.

More than 40 people have been killed in four earlier mining accidents in the city since February. No information is available on the condition of the six trapped miners.

The flooding happened on Wednesday afternoon when 40 miners were working underground. Twenty-four managed to escape, while 16 were trapped.

The mine was in violation of several safety rules, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

A spokesman at the administration, who preferred to remain anonymous, said on Monday that the owner and managers of the privately owned coal mine tried to conceal the accident and fled on Wednesday. As a result, rescue operations were delayed by about 12 hours, the spokesman said.

The coal mine owner had ignored an earlier order by the safety watchdog, which asked the mine to halt operations before a reorganization, he said. The miners were also asked to mine beyond the authorized area.

The owner and managers failed to detect and drain water in the coal mine before letting miners get into the mine shaft, which is a serious violation of safety regulations, the spokesman said.

The mine owner, Liu Yaping, is being held in police custody, the spokesman said.

The work safety administration has sent a team to Leiyang to supervise the investigations.

The accident was the fifth in the city since February.

A mine car derailed in Nanyang township in Leiyang on Feb 16, killing 15 people and injuring three others.

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