More China mine deaths

ANOTHER Chinese mine disaster has killed 19 miners after a fire broke out in a northeastern licensed coal mine.
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Hebei Province, China.

Vivienne Ryan

Twelve miners remained missing on Sunday, China’s official newsagency Xinhua reported, while the fire continued to spread through the mine.

Increasing toxic gases and the spreading fire hampered the rescue effort for the missing miners.

The fire broke out on Saturday afternoon at the Fuhua Coal Mine in Hegang City, while 43 miners were underground.

Twelve workers managed to escape while 31 remained trapped underground.

Rescuers recovered five bodies late on Saturday and 14 bodies on Sunday.

Experts at the site said the 12 trapped miners had little chance of survival as they had been trapped for 30 hours.

In what seems to be a government attempt to crack down on lax safety conditions, the mine’s owner and manager were in police custody, along with a vice manager in charge of production and another in charge of ventilation.

China’s coal mines are viewed as the most dangerous in the world, with the country recording 3786 coal mining deaths in 2006.

So far this year over 300 Chinese residents have lost their lives in mine explosions and mine floods, and when a rock slide from an unlicensed mine engulfed a village.

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