Dozens are still trapped in the Shanxi Coking Coal Group’s burning shaft of what is being called the worst mining disaster of the year. Some reports say that as many as 65 miners are still inside those burning tunnels.
The hospitals are dealing with 113 injured workers, 21 of those are in critical condition. They are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. There is no odor to warn that death is knocking.
At the time of the explosion 436 workers were in the Tunlan Coal Mine. There is no word as to what caused the explosion yet.
The over 100 rescue workers have been hampered by the flames that burn on inside the shaft.
Shanxi Coking Coal Group owns 28 mines. They are China’s largest coal producer. The mines are considered some of the best facilities in the nation. There had been no reports of any major accidents in the past five years prior to this explosion.
Over 3,000 deaths a year in China are the result of fires, floods and explosions in the mines.
For years China has promised to improve the conditions of their mines. In that effort over 1,000 small mines were considered so dangerous that they were closed last year. Last year 3,200 people died in mining accidents last year. That is a 15% decline from 2007.
The numbers are misleading. Those smaller mines accounted from the majority of deaths. The larger, state-run mines are considered some of the world’s safest. They tend to have safety records of other developed countries. That can not be said of the small mines that have few safety rules, little equipment and employees with little to no training.
Those small mines number at 80 percent in a nation that has 16,000 mines.