The death toll in China’s latest mining disaster has now reached at least 104. Another four men are still missing after Saturday’s huge gas explosion at the Xinxing mine in Hegang close to the Russian border.
Apparently, attempts were being made to evacuate around 500 miners from the pit when the gas ignited. About a dozen women who went to the mine early today to complain about the lack of information, clashed with police and security guards, and some were driven away in a van. Reporters who tried to speak to the women were harassed.
Despite an 18% reduction in fatal accidents in the first half of this year, China’s coal mines remain among the most dangerous in the world. In the first six months of 2009, 1,175 miners have already been killed. Another 11 died yesterday in an explosion at another mine in Hunan province.
China was the scene of the world’s worst mining accident at Honkeiko in 1942, when 1,549 miners were killed. See also my blogs of Feb 22 and Nov 19.