Mine accident kills 19 in China

Coal mine accident in northern China kills 19 miners, state media and officials says

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Members of a rescue team carry a miner on a stretcher at Yuanlin Coal Mine in Xianghuang Banner of Xilin Gol League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

At least 19 people have been killed in a coal mine accident in China, state media and officials said on Thursday, in what is believed to be one of the deadliest such incidents so far this year.

The accident occurred on Wednesday night at a mine in the northern province of Shanxi owned by Shanxi Datong Coal Mine Group, the official Xinhua news agency said, without giving further details.

The provincial Communist Youth League said on a verified social media account that 129 miners had been working at the time and 110 escaped, adding the cause was under investigation.

China is the world's largest coal producer, and deadly accidents in the sector are common.

Officials say the number dying annually in the country's mines has fallen substantially in the past decade, to fewer than 1,000 a year.

Many accidents are caused by corrupt bosses seeking profits over worker safety.

China has vowed to cut some two million jobs in its coal and steel industries, which suffer from massive overcapacity.

A senior manager at Shanxi Datong said last year that the company had been forced to ramp up production to deal with a drop in coal prices.

At least 21 people died in a fire at a mine in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang in November.