Death toll from China coal mine blast rises to 33

CHONGQING: The death toll from the recent coal mine explosion that struck a mining province in China has risen to 33 as rescuers retrieve the bodies of 15 missing miners.

Only two miners escaped the blast at the privately-owned Jinshangou colliery in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that the government had ordered an investigation into the cause of the deadly incident.

However, the news agency said that initial investigations showed the complex had exceeded its mining boundaries. Insufficient and malfunctioning equipment, poor ventilation and disorderly management also contributed to the cause of the incident.

“No matter which department or person, the strictness of the law and the party and government will be brought to bear down on them. (We will) earnestly give the party and the people a responsible explanation,” said the head of the state administration for work and safety, whose name was not mentioned in news reports.

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, and mine accidents are common in the country in spite of efforts to improve safety for workers. Beijing is struggling to pass strict safety regulations in the mining sector.

Authorities say many of such accidents should be blamed on managers who prefer their own profit over workers’ safety.

In January, four miners were rescued from a collapsed gypsum mine in Shandong province after 36 days of being trapped underground. The mine’s owner killed himself shortly after the accident.

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