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China mine death toll rises to 30

China minersBEIJING: The death toll from a gas explosion in a coal mine in central China has risen to 30, with seven workers still trapped underground, the country’s work safety watchdog said Monday.

Rescuers said Sunday there was little hope of finding any more survivors of Saturday’s accident in the city of Yuzhou in Henan province, and that it would likely take several days to find those still missing.

Du Bo, the deputy director of the rescue operation, said the missing miners were likely buried in the more than 2,500 tonnes of coal dust that smothered the pit after the gas leak.
A total of 276 miners were at work below ground when the disaster happened, and 239 managed to make it to the surface, the national work safety agency said.

China’s latest tragedy has highlighted the poor safety conditions in its mines, in which over 2,600 miners perished last year, according to official figures, but independent labour groups say the toll is likely much higher.

The government has repeatedly vowed to shut dangerous mines and increase safety, but the accidents continue with regularity as mines hustle to pump out the coal on which China relies for about 70 per cent of its energy. – AFP

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