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Black week in Chinese mines

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Black week in Chinese mines

More than 1,000 rescuers fought against the clock in a coal mine in China where 153 workers were trapped by floods.

Jason Lee / Reuters

Twenty-eight people died in China and 192 were missing after five mining disasters in as many days in this country known for the lack of safety in its coal mines who have had a black week, media reported on Friday.

In Shanxi province (north), 153 miners were still in bottom of the well after the flooding of their mine under construction last Sunday. The research was accelerated with 3,000 rescuers were struggling against the clock.

If no survivors were found in the Wangjialing mine, it would be the worst mining disaster in China for two and half years.

Families clung to hope, more and more tenuous, the miners were able to climb on platforms inside the well to escape the water, explained newspapers Friday.

The latest disaster occurred in the neighboring province of Shaanxi (north central) Thursday when nine miners were killed in a fire.

In Henan province (center) a huge explosion killed at least 19 people Wednesday in a mine that was operating illegally, authorities said.

Twenty-four others were missing in the mine whose boss, as is often the case after an accident, fled and was actively sought by the police, reported the China Daily.

Heilongjiang province (northeast), five miners were trapped after a flood.

At the other end of the country, finally, in the Xinjiang region (northwest), 10 miners were missing after the collapse of a mine.

Chinese coal mines are considered the most dangerous in the world, although, according to official statistics, the number of deaths dropped to 18% in 2009 to 2631, thanks to efforts to gradually improve the security situation.

This number still represents seven deaths per day. The deadliest year was 2002, with 6995 deaths.

Coal accounts for 70% of China's energy supply and illegal mines, hungry for quick profits, often make their employees work in defiance of basic safety rules.


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