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September 10, 2009

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Mine death toll increases to 56

THIRTEEN government officials and mine managers were arrested, sacked or suspended from their posts after two colliery accidents on Tuesday killed 56 workers, trapped 36 and injured 14 in central China's Henan Province, authorities said last night.

The death toll from the coal mine gas explosion in Pingdingshan City rose to 43, with 36 still missing, said a spokesman for the Henan Provincial Bureau of Work Safety.

The gas blast occurred around 1am on Tuesday. Ninety-three people were working in the pit when the accident happened, 14 of whom managed to escape.

Three mine officials were placed in criminal custody. Qi Tongyan, deputy head of Xinhua District of Pingdingshan City, and Zhang Xizhi, a coal industry administration official, were dismissed from their posts on Tuesday afternoon.

Another eight officials and mine managers were punished after 13 workers choked to death in a fire at a gold mine owned by Jinyuan Mining Co in Sanmenxia City.

A cave-in cut electrical wires and triggered the fire at about 9pm on Tuesday. At the time of the blaze, 12 miners were working underground, and six fled to safety. The mine sent eight rescuers down the pit, but seven were trapped by the fire.

Hou Lejian, deputy mayor of Lingbao City under the administration of Sanmenxia, and Li Zanpeng, a city government official, were suspended from their posts.


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