Beijing (AFP) Nov 29, 2009
A flood at a coal mine in northeast China has trapped 16 workers, the government said Saturday, in the latest accident to strike China's notoriously dangerous mining sector.
One miner was rescued and 16 remained missing after the accident on Friday at the Zhonghe coal mine near Meihekou city, Jilin province, the State Administration of Work Safety said on its website.
Rescue efforts were being hampered by water and mud inside the mine, Xinhua news agency reported.
"The rescue is extremely difficult this time," mine rescue expert Jia Changjiang told Xinhua from the scene.
"Water is everywhere under the well, which makes the situation worse and worse," he said.
A local government official told AFP the mine was privately owned. Calls by AFP to the mine went unanswered.
Late Thursday, a gas explosion in a coal mine in the southern province of Guizhou killed nine people. Last Saturday 108 miners were killed in a gas explosion at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China.
China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with safety often ignored in the quest for profits and a drive to meet surging demand for coal, the source of about 70 percent of China's energy.
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