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Death toll in north China coal mine blast jumps to 74

Editor:Sharon Lee
Source:嶄忽晩烏利
Updated:2009/2/23 12:22:43

  Rescue workers prepare to get into the coal mine to look for survivors in north China's Shanxi Province, Feb. 22, 2009. More than 70 miners have died after a coal mine blast occurred at about 2: 00 a.m. Sunday at the Tunlan Coal Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group in Gujiao City near Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, while rescuers are pulling out the trapped from the shaft, according to a rescuer at the site. (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

  Luo Lin (1st L, rear), head of the State Administration of Work Safety, Zhao Tiechui (R, rear), head of the State Bureau of Coal Industry, and Zhang Baoshun (C, rear), the Provincial Communist Party Committee chief, talk with a miner injured during the accident at a hospital Gujiao City, north China's Shanxi Province, Feb. 22, 2009. The death toll in the coal mine blast has risen to 73 at 3:00 p.m. local time (0700GMT) Sunday, according to rescuers. The accident occurred at 2:17 a.m. Sunday at the Tunlan Coal Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group, when 436 miners were working underground. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai) He told Xinhua that when the accident occurred, they just felt choked. At about 3:30 a.m., someone outside the shaft told them that "the ventilation system broke down," and ordered the miners to escape.

  "At that time power supply underground was cut off and we had to walk," he said.

  Fortunately, Xue had received regular trainings for self-rescue, which the mine conducts twice a year. After walking for about 40 or 50 minutes, he switched on his personal oxygen tank, but fainted when he was about to reach the exit.

  Xue woke up at 5:30 a.m. in the hospital.

  "I still felt dizzy and doctors brought me oxygen bottles. They measured my body temperature, blood pressure and recorded the electrocardiogram for me," he said, adding that he felt better by noon.

  Most of the miners suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, according to doctors in the Xishan Hospital of Coal and Electricity in Gujiao, one of the nearest hospitals to the mine.

  All of the 68 hyperbaric oxygenic chambers in hospitals in Taiyuan are open for admitting the injured miners.

  Zhang Baoshun, the provincial Communist Party committee chief, who is leading the rescue work at the accident site, called for effective rescue efforts to prevent secondary disasters.

  So far, 80 rescuers from seven professional rescue teams were searching for trapped miners.

  A rescuer told a Xinhua reporter Sunday morning that some relatives of the trapped miners said had received cell phone calls from their loved ones in the mine, which meant they were still alive.

  More than 40 ambulances have been called to the accident site to provide the first aid.

  Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, and Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Bureau of Coal Industry, arrived at the accident Sunday afternoon.

  Huang Yi, spokesman for the administration, urged all mining companies to carry out safety overhaul.

  Medical workers prepare to treat survivors in north China's Shanxi Province, Feb. 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

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