BEIJING – At least 14 people died and two others were trapped as a result of a coal and gas explosion Tuesday at a coal mine in southern China, state media said.
State-owned Xinhua agency reported the incident occurred at about 1.30 am local time in Guizhou province, and rescue teams managed to rescue seven of 23 workers inside the Guanglong coal mine, in Anlong County, at the time of the explosion.
Emergency services found the bodies of 14 miners, while two other workers remained trapped underground.
On Saturday, a coal mine in central Sichuan province flooded, leaving at least five dead and 13 miners trapped, while 329 employees managed to escape on time.
China’s mines, especially those mining coal – the country’s main energy source – are among the world’s most dangerous and see high accident rates, although fatalities have fallen significantly in recent years.
In 2018, there were 224 accidents in Chinese coal mines with 333 deaths, a 0.9 percent drop year-on-year in the number of accidents and a 13.1 percent decrease in the number of dead, according to authorities.
The figure is nearly 20 times lower than those recorded in the early 2000s when up to 7,000 people died yearly in mine accidents due to the rapid industrial expansion China was undergoing – often at the expense of proper regulation.
However, according to nonprofit China Labour Bulletin, the decline in mining-related accidents and deaths has more to do with mines shutting down due to declining coal demand over the past five years than the introduction of better security measures.