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20 workers die in coal mine cable car plunge

(Global Times)

08:33, September 26, 2012

Twenty coal mine workers were killed Tuesday after a cable on the underground carriage they were riding snapped, sending them crashing to bottom of the mine in Northwest China's Gansu Province.

Thirty-four miners were riding in two carriages shortly after midnight in a pit in the city of Baiyin near Lanzhou, the provincial administration for work safety said.

The two carriages overturned, tossing the workers into the pit, it said in a news update.

Rescuers had retrieved all the miners as of midday. Most of the 14 survivors were being treated for injuries in hospital.

Company sources said the cable that snapped had been replaced on July 29, and an initial investigation suggested the carriages were overloaded.

The coal mine, run by Qusheng Coal Mining Co, was operating illegally, as it was one of the 55 mines safety authorities had ordered to halt production during an industry reshuffle.

The planned reshuffle was aimed at incorporating the 55 small mines into 10 larger ones.

The Qusheng pit began operating in 2003 and has a designed annual output of 90,000 tons.

In the wake of the accident, the provincial government has demanded a temporary shutdown of all mines with annual output below 300,000 tons for a safety overhaul.

An initial compensation fund of 1.6 million yuan ($253,718) has been set up.

The State Administration of Coal Mine Safety also issued an alert Tuesday urging all mines to report accidents immediately, after three accidents in Heilongjiang and Shandong provinces during the past week.

The operators of the two mines in Heilongjiang tried to cover up the accidents on September 22.

Xinhua - Global Times

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