October 10, 2008

Death Toll Rises to Nine in South China Mine Blast

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

[Xinhua: "Death Toll Hits 9 in South China Mine Gas Blast"]

NANNING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) - The death toll from a coal mine gas blast on Friday morning in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has risen to nine, a local safety official said.

The accident occurred at around 9:20 a.m. in a well of Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd in Heshan City, said Zeng Biao, the Laibin Municipal Work Safety Bureau deputy head.

Heshan is a city administered by Laibin City.

A total of 83 miners were underground at the time of the blast according to the company, Zeng said in a phone interview with Xinhua.

Nine bodies were found and the other 74 got out of the well safely, he said.

He earlier said 91 miners were found and 84 were saved.

Rescuers were still working in a shaft yet to be searched.

Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd is a joint venture with a Hong Kong investment company. It has the exploitation right and mining rights for 820 million tons of coal in three mines in Guangxi and neighbouring Guizhou Province.

It is the largest coal mine company in Guangxi with an annual production capacity of around 8 million tons.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1039 10 Oct 08.

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