BEIJING – Twenty-three miners were rescued alive on Wednesday after an iron mine exploded on Tuesday in the northeastern province of Liaoning, killing 11 workers with two others reported still missing.
The explosion occurred on Tuesday around 4:10 pm local time (0810 GMT) at the entrance of the mine, located in the city of Benxi, after the miners dropped explosives down the 1,000-meter-deep mine shaft, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The explosion destroyed the elevator system and left 25 miners trapped inside, most of whom were rescued on Wednesday early morning, but search and rescue efforts are still underway for the two missing miners.
All rescued miners are safe, but five of them were seriously injured and transferred to a local hospital for further treatment, authorities announced.
Chinese mines, especially coal mines – the country’s main source of energy – have a high accident rate and are among the most dangerous in the world, although the number of fatal accidents has fallen significantly in recent years.
At least 219 accidents and 375 deaths were reported in China’s coal mines in 2017 alone. However, this number of deaths was 28.7 percent lower than in 2016, and almost 20 times lower than at the beginning of the last decade, when up to 7,000 deaths were recorded each year in mining accidents.