Rescuers try to find 15 still trapped by mine blast in China

By Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press

Hundreds of rescuers were struggling Tuesday to find 15 coal miners still trapped a day after a gas explosion killed 18 of their colleagues in western China.

In this Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, rescuers work at Jinshangou Coal Mine in Chongqing, southwest China. Rescuers worked through the night at the privately owned Jinshangou mine where the explosion occurred before noon Monday, Xinhua News Agency reported. (Tang Yi/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Hundreds of rescuers were struggling Tuesday to find 15 coal miners still trapped a day after a gas explosion killed 18 of their colleagues in western China.

Whether the 15 are alive was not known more than 24 hours after the blast ripped through the privately owned Jinshangou mine in the sprawling Chongqing region. Just two miners are confirmed to have survived the blast.

Thirteen fatalities had been confirmed Tuesday morning. Later, five more bodies were recovered from among the 33 people who had been trapped in the shaft following the explosion, Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The searchers were being hindered by debris blocking some of the mine's passageways.

We "will exert our utmost as long as there's still a ray of hope," Chongqing deputy mayor Mu Huaping said of the search efforts, according to Xinhua.

Local officials did not answer telephone calls from The Associated Press, and a person who answered the phone at the mine hung up when asked about the blast.

Gas explosions inside mines are often caused when a flame or electrical spark ignites gas leaking from the coal seam. Ventilation systems are supposed to prevent gas from becoming trapped.

The State Administration of Work Safety ordered an investigation into the blast, "adding that those responsible must be strictly punished." Local officials in Chongqing also ordered smaller mines to shut down temporarily, Xinhua said.

China's mining industry has long been among the world's deadliest. The head of the State Administration of Work Safety said earlier this year that struggling coal mines might be likely to overlook maintenance.

China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal but plans to shutter more than 1,000 outdated mines as part of a broader plan to reduce overproduction.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Revolutionizing Asset Management in the Electric Power Industry

With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things, data is growing and becoming more accessib...

Shell Leverages Data to Transform from Reactive to Predictive Operations

This 6-page report describes how Shell engaged in a massive project with OSIsoft to transform the...

Selection, Use, Care and Maintenance of FR Clothing

For industries operating in an inherently dangerous environment, the importance of selecting the ...

Evolution or Revolution: IT / OT convergence means a world of possibilities

The oil and gas industry is experiencing a rapid paradigm shift in regards to digital transformat...

Latest PennEnergy Jobs

PennEnergy Oil & Gas Jobs