September 20, 2008

Five Dead, 26 Missing in Northeast China Coal Mine Fire

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua: "2nd Ld: Five Dead, 26 Missing in NE China Coal Mine Fire"]

HEGANG, Heilongjiang, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) - Five miners were confirmed dead and 26 remained missing after a coal mine fire in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province broke out early on Saturday, rescuers said.

The fire was detected at around 3:30 a.m. in the Fuhua mine in Hegang City, when 43 miners were underground, the rescue headquarters said.

Twelve managed to escape while 31 remained trapped. Rescuers found five bodies but then had to evacuate due to the thick smoke and high gas density in the shaft.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Fu Jianhua, the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety deputy director, and Gai Ruyin, Heilongjiang's vice governor, arrived at the mine to direct the rescue operation.

The licensed mine is privately-owned by the Fuhua Mining Co. Ltd..

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1211 20 Sep 08.

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