Death Toll Rises To 41 From China Mine Explosion, 5 Miners Still Trapped Underground

BEIJING- The death toll from China’s worst mining accident in three years, has risen to 41 on Friday, with 5 miners still trapped underground.

According to Huffington Post, state media said that one person was pulled out of the mine alive, nearly 36 hours after the explosion that occured at Xiaojiawan coal mine in coal-rich Panzhihua city in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Police detained the mine owners after the explosion, and the Sichuan government has launched a province-wide safety check on all coal mines. If any mines are found to have any safery hazards, the government has pledged to shut them down.

There were 154 miners working in the mine at the time of the explosion, and, 108 survivors have been pulled out to the surface.

This has been China’s deadliest mining accident since November of 2009, when 108 people were killed in an explosion in a mine in Heilongjiang province.

Out of all the survivors who made it to the surface, 50 of them are suffering from carbon-monoxide poisoning and seven are in critical condition, says the offical Xinhua News Agency.

The rescue operation in itself was a dangerous process. This is because of the high temperatures and dense carbon-monoxide inside the mine. This meant that only mask-wearing paramedics were allowed to enter the mine.

Coal mine accidents are common in China, because work safety rules are often ignored. Last year, 1,973 miners were killed in coal mine accidents in the country, but that was down 19 percent from the previous year as authorities continue increase safety measures.

The State Administration of Work Safety said last week that it plans to close more than 600 small coal mines, considered more dangerous than larger mines, this year to further reduce fatalities.