Efforts on to rescue 19 trapped workers from Chinese coal mine

Rescue efforts are underway after a coal mine was flooded by mud, leaving one dead and 19 others trapped in China’s Qinghai province, authorities said on Sunday.

The accident took place on Saturday when 21 people were working in the mine located in Gangca county, Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, said the provincial emergency management department.

Two miners were lifted to the ground, including one who was confirmed dead, while the rest remained trapped, Xinhua news agency quoted the department as saying.

The coal mine was ordered by the provincial mine safety administration to suspend production and rectify irregularities on August 2, said Yin Maowen, deputy head of Haibei prefecture, at a press conference early Sunday morning.

Qinghai provincial government has activated the provincial level-II emergency response, and allocated more than 30,000 pieces of emergency relief materials to the site, said Yin.

The local fire and rescue department has mobilized 32 fire engines and 120 fire fighters to participate in rescue work.

“By 9 p.m. Saturday, over 200 rescuers from professional rescue teams and departments of fire, public security, health and emergency management had been dispatched to carry out rescue operations,” said Yin.

China’s Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a work team to Qinghai to guide rescue efforts.

Huang Ming, minister of emergency management, ordered an investigation into the accident, and called on local authorities nationwide to intensify safety supervision to prevent occurrence of major accidents.

Yin said that investigation will be carried out to determine the cause of the accident and those responsible for the accident will be held accountable.

Data shows that the mine was put into operation in September 2009, with a designed production capacity of 900,000 tonnes a year.