Families Protest After Mine Disaster in Hegang, Heilongjiang

13:06 Nov 23 2009 hegang heilongjiang china

Families Protest After Mine Disaster in Hegang, Heilongjiang
From Reuters:

Relatives of miners killed by a gas blast at a coal pit in northeast China scuffled with police and demanded answers from the owners on Monday as the toll hit 104 and hopes faded that any more survivors would be found.

The protest came a day after another 11 miners were killed in a blast at a pit in the southern province of Hunan, the official Xinhua agency said. China's stability-obsessed government is nervous about protests, and keen to control discontent.

China has the world's deadliest coal-mining industry with more than 3,000 people killed in mine floods, explosions, collapses and other accidents in 2008 alone.

Saturday's explosion at the mine in Hegang in the frigid province of Heilongjiang came as more than 500 miners were underground, though most were rescued.

Mine operators were at fault because they failed to evacuate workers fast enough after dangerously high gas levels were detected in the mine, said Luo Lin, head of the country's safety watchdog, the State Administration of Work Safety


Nearly an hour before the explosion, a gas detector showed levels five times the trigger for an evacuation, Xinhua said. An official said the mine was too big for workers to escape in time.

Four miners were still unaccounted for on Sunday with almost no hope for survival, but even as smoke drifted out of the mine mouth near the site of the explosion, other miners were heading into undamaged parts of the pit to start the evening's shift.

A dozen women, relatives of the dead, had braved the freezing temperatures on Monday morning to take their complaints about a lack of information to the mine's entrance, where they argued and scuffled with police and mine security.

"None of the officials have died, all of the dead are the workers," one shouted. "Not one of those officials has even been down into that mine."

Some of the women were taken inside the mine compound, while others were put into a large white van. Men who declined to identify themselves tried to stop reporters speaking to the women, putting their hands in front of cameras.
Credibility: UP DOWN 0

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