15 dead in China coal mine blast

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 20 Nov 2019

A coal mine explosion killed 15 people in north China's Shanxi province, state media reported.

Nine other people were injured by the gas explosion on Monday afternoon at a mine owned by Shanxi Pingyao Fengyan Coal & Coke Group Co, according to official news agency Xinhua.

Thirty-five miners were working underground when the blast happened, but 11 miners were able to escape, the report said.

The injured miners were in a stable condition, Xinhua added.

Shen Xuping, an official at the Shanxi Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said yesterday that the accident revealed a "lack of awareness of the rule of law and chaotic management" by the company involved.

Shen said the accident was caused by activity that "broke the law and regulations," although authorities are still investigating the exact cause.

Deadly mining accidents are common in the country, where the industry has a poor safety record.

At a meeting last week, the State Council - China's cabinet - ordered a "special crackdown on production-related safety issues" to "further improve workplace safety," Xinhua reported.

In December 2018, seven miners were killed in Chongqing municipality after the connecting segment of a mining skip broke and fell down a mine shaft.

Two months earlier, 21 miners died in Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping the workers. Only one miner was rescued alive.

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