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China::Mine Blast Death Toll: 45, Survivor: 1

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posted on May, 23 2005 @ 05:31 AM
Mine Blast Death Toll: 45, Survivor: 1

Rescuers said on Monday that they have so far discovered 45 bodies at the site of last Thursday's coalmine blast in Chengde in north China's Hebei Province.

Only one miner was rescued. Another five are still missing.

The explosion occurred at around 3:00 AM last Thursday when 85 miners were working underground at the Nuan'erhe Coal Mine. Thirty-four of them were lifted up to the ground, and 51 others were trapped.

The State Council set up a team on Sunday in Chengde to investigate the incident.

Zhao Tiechui, director of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, was named head of the team. He will lead three sub-teams to look into the specific causes of the incident, calculate financial losses suffered, suggest the punishment to be metered out on those found to be responsible for the mishap, and provide precautionary tips to other coal mines.

Zhao added that his team would focus on compensation for the families of the dead miners.

The team comprises officials from concerned ministries, the Hebei Provincial Government and Chengde City Government. Colliery experts were also invited to form a separate panel to facilitate the work of the State Council team.

Located at Nanzhangzi Village in Bajia Township, the coalmine was state-owned until December 2003 when it was auctioned off to the Beijing Guodian Zhongneng Electric Fuel Investment Co., Ltd. for 65 million yuan (US$7.8 million).

Sun Jisheng, the only survivor of the blast to date, was in a coma when he was rescued on Saturday. He regained consciousness on Sunday but the prolonged lack of oxygen to his brain, a condition known as cerebral hypoxia, has caused him to suffer memory loss, said doctors with the No. 266 Hospital of the PLA (People's Liberation Army), Chengde.

In January 2002, Sun survived a similar explosion that killed 29 and injured 11 at the same colliery.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2005)

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