May 21, 2006

China coal pit flood traps some 57 miners: report

BEIJING (Reuters) - A coal pit flood has trapped an
estimated 57 miners in north China, Xinhua news agency said,
the latest accident to strike the world's deadliest mining

The flood struck on Thursday night in Shanxi province and
101 miners managed to escape, Xinhua said of the accident which
it blamed on "excessive production."

"The mine had the problem of illegally mining beyond its
approved coal seams," Li Yizhong, director of the State
Administration of Work Safety, was quoted as saying.

"Poor management should also be blamed as so far the
managerial personnel of the coal mine could not provide an
exact number of miners being trapped underground."

Xinhua said in an overnight report on Saturday that 44
miners were trapped. Police had arrested nine of the mine's
managers, but the boss had gone into hiding, it reported.

More than 3,300 coal mine blasts, floods and other
accidents claimed nearly 6,000 lives across the country last
year, as mine owners, motivated by soaring profits, pushed
production past safe limits to fuel the booming economy.