Flood Traps 28 in China Mine

A flood in a coal mine in south-west China has trapped 28 people, state media reported.

The accident occurred at 11:00am (local time) near the city of Neijiang in Sichuan province, Xinhua reported, citing local authorities.

A total of 41 miners were working in the Batian coal mine when the flood hit, but 13 escaped, the report said.

A rescue operation was in progress and the whereabouts of the trapped miners were not immediately known.

Earlier Xinhua also reported three workers were trapped by flood in an iron ore mine in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Saturday night. Rescue workers were still trying to free them Sunday afternoon.

Chinese mines are notoriously dangerous due to the widespread flouting of safety rules, typically blamed on corrupt mine operators trying to keep costs down, with coal mining particularly accident-prone.

China’s poor safety record came under fresh scrutiny after the successful rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile for more than two months gripped the world, sparking comparisons with China’s litany of deadly disasters.

Last year 2,631 Chinese miners were killed, according to official statistics, but independent labour groups say the true figure is likely to be much higher as many accidents are believed to be covered up.

The government has repeatedly vowed to shut dangerous mines and strengthen safety, but the accidents continue with regularity as mines rush to pump out the coal on which China relies for about 70 percent of its energy.

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