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Flooded mine kills 7; 5 workers still missing

THE death toll from a flooded coal mine in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province stands at seven after rescuers retrieved two more bodies on Sunday.

Five people were still trapped underground at the Jinli Coal Mine in the Xingnong Township, Jidong County, Jixi City, said Fang Dongchu, vice secretary-general of the Jixi municipal government, yesterday.

"The chances of their survival are slim but the government will go all out to save them so long as there is a glimmer of hope," Fang said.

More than 150 rescuers and six pumps are working on the rescue operation, Fang said.

About 4,000 cubic meters of water had poured into the shaft and it was expected to be pumped out by last night, he added.

The accident occurred around 5:30am on Saturday when 22 miners were working underground.

Six managed to escape.

Four miners were rescued and are being treated at the Center Hospital of Jixi, where doctors described their conditions as stable.

Work safety officials said the mine, owned by the Tianyuan Company, was licensed but was operating illegally as it had not been authorized by safety inspectors.

Police have detained the mine owner, whose identity has not been revealed.


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