Mine disaster sparks anger

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Security guards blocked the front gate as about a dozen people stood outside in subfreezing weather and a nighttime fog. Four women argued loudly with the guards, demanding to be let in to look for missing relatives. “Why won’t you let us in?” one shouted. When the guards refused, the women shouted obscenities at the men. People who answered the phone at the mine office said they were too busy to give any information. The incident is a setback for Chinese officials struggling to improve safety in the coal mining industry. Most disasters are blamed on disregard of safety rules or lack of equipment for ventilation or fire control. Local officials often are accused of helping mine owners or managers flout safety rules. Beijing has unveiled one safety initiative after another in recent years. It has announced the creation of a national network of safety inspectors, stricter fire standards and shorter working hours for miners to prevent fatigue. QITAIHE, China – Anxious relatives demanded to be allowed into a coal mine Monday after an explosion killed at least 138 miners and left 11 others missing, adding to a soaring death toll in China’s mines despite a safety crackdown. The blast in the Dongfeng Coal Mine prompted national leaders to demand stricter enforcement of safety rules in China’s mining industry, by far the world’s deadliest, with more than 5,000 fatalities a year in fires, floods and other accidents. The disaster late Sunday came as the nearby city of Harbin was struggling to recover from a toxic spill in a river that forced the government to cut off water supplies for five days. Outside the Qitaihe mine in China’s northeast, a stream of emergency vehicles with flashing red lights and black government sedans made their way up and down the narrow, two-lane road to the mine entrance. Authorities say they have shut down more than 12,000 coal mines this year for safety inspections. Thousands have been ordered to improve their facilities and many others aren’t expected to reopen. The government said the explosion in Qitaihe was blamed on airborne coal dust that ignited. But there was no word on whether it was believed to involve misconduct or human error. Rescuers had found 74 miners alive by Monday, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said 138 miners died in the explosion and a team of 269 rescuers was searching for 11 others, but gave no indication whether they were believed to be alive.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img



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