Sun, March 29, 2009
China > Mainland

Rescuers abandon effort to find 13 workers in flooded China coal mine

2009-03-29 10:55:20 GMT2009-03-29 18:55:20 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CHANGNING, Hunan, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers gave up hope Saturday for 13 miners who were trapped in a flooded mine on March21 in central China's Hunan Province.

Rescuers stopped pumping water at 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the rescue headquarters.

The shaft space in the mine was only 14.5 cubic meters and the amount of oxygen there would only have been enough to sustain one person for 63 hours, said Yan Yinchu, deputy director of the Hunan Provincial Work Safety Administration.

He said that because of the small shaft, it would take another 40 days to remove the 146,000 cubic meters of water in the mine. The facility's complicated layout and the accumulation of debris would endanger rescuers' lives, he said.

More than 100 rescuers and volunteer miners participated in the rescue effort.

The flood occurred at about 5 p.m. on March 21 in a private mine in Sanjiaotang Township, Changning City. The mine managers fled the scene without reporting the accident to local authorities, police said.

The mine was in the process of merging with another mine and was closed down by the local work safety administration on March 7. However, illegal production began days after a check by authorities on March 16 to make sure the mine was still closed, said Yan.

Peng Qingchun and Liao Lunsheng, shareholders of the mine, have been detained.

The Changning city government said it would give each victim's family 200,000 yuan (about 29,400 U.S. dollars) in compensation, but it didn't say when.

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