Coal mine’s roof collapse kills 21 in China

Rescuers gather at Lijiagou coal mine of the Baiji Mining Co., Ltd., in Shenmu City, Shaanxi province on Sunday. The death toll in a coal mine roof collapse has risen to 21, according to state media reports. Photo by EPA/Xinhua

Jan. 14 (UPI) — The roof of a coal mine in China collapsed, killing 21 people, state media reported.

The accident occurred at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Baiji Mining Co. Ltd.’s Lijiagou coal mine in the city of Shenmu, according to Xinhua.

When the roof collapsed, 87 people were working underground. Nineteen were found dead and two others, initially thought to be missing, died, state broadcaster CCTV reported, according to the South China Morning Post.

A large number of rescue vehicles and personnel remained at the site Sunday.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.

Lijiagou mine received approval in 2016 to produce 900,000 tons of coal a year. But in 2017, its owner — Baiji Mining Company — was ordered by the government to suspend operations while it “improved safety standards to prevent serious accidents.”

That year, 375 people died in coal mining accidents, according to figures from the National Coal Mine Safety Administration. That was 29 percent lower than 2016.

Last year, the bureau investigated 3,071 accidents, which resulted in 74 mines being ordered to close, 36 told to halt operations and more than $6 million in fines being issued, Xinhua said.

Last October, a cave-in at a mine in eastern Shandong province killed 21.

Two months later, seven miners died and three were injured in a mining accident in Chongqing.


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