Gas poisoning kills miners in Hunan

Seven miners have died in the central Chinese province of Hunan from gas poisoning, while a further 18 miners were missing in Henan province after a mine-shaft flooded, RFA's Mandarin and Cantonese services report.

Eighteen people were trapped in a flooded coal mine in Henan's Dengfeng City, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a provincial coal-mine safety official as saying. The flood occurred Thursday in the Changda Coal Mine.

The agency said rescuers had reported hearing knocking sounds from underground, indicating that some of the miners at least might still be alive. Rescue operations were under way, together with an investigation into the cause of the accident, it said.

Meanwhile, the Changsha Evening News reported that seven miners had died at a mine in Lianyuan City, Henan, after inhaling poisonous gas. Three others were receiving treatment in hospital for respiratory problems, the paper said.

In August, at least 25 miners were killed in the northern city of Jinzhong after a gas explosion ripped through a coalmine run by a local village enterprise. Similar gas explosions at mines in Yangquan and Datong in the same province had left 65 dead and five missing the previous week.

Safety standards in China's mines are among the lowest in the world, with a total of 4,150 deaths reported in the first eight months of this year alone, the equivalent of 17 deaths a day. Most of these deaths occurred in coal pits.

The worst accidents happen in smaller, privately run mines that pay little attention to safety. Last year, more than 5,000 Chinese workers were killed in explosions, floods, cave-ins, and other accidents. #####


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