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Twelve killed in China coal mine flood: state media

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 28, 2010
Twelve workers were killed and one injured in a flood in a colliery in southwestern China, state media said Thursday, in the latest accident to hit the nation's notoriously dangerous mining industry.

The incident happened on Wednesday in Guizhou province's Machang town when 50 miners were working underground, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a spokesman for the provincial coal mine safety bureau as saying.

A total of 38 workers managed to escape, the report said, adding the mine managers had fled after the accident but were caught on Thursday.

The cause of the flooding is currently under investigation.

More than 2,600 miners were killed in job-related accidents last year, according to official data -- or about seven people a day. Independent labour groups say the actual number of deaths is probably much higher.

China last week vowed to beef up safety in the industry -- the latest pledge made in a nation where accidents happen with regularity as mines rush to pump out the coal on which the nation relies for about 70 percent of its energy.

Just two weeks ago, 37 people were killed in what authorities have called a "gas outburst" in a mine in central China's Henan province.

It was the first major accident in China since the dramatic rescue of 33 miners trapped for more than two months in Chile -- an event that triggered considerable public criticism over China's mine safety record.

Some state media editorials said China should learn from the better training and safety systems of Chilean mines.

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