Explosion at coal mine kills 11 in northern China

At least 11 people were killed following an explosion in the Shaanxi province, authorities say.

China remains dependent on coal for the bulk of its energy and is the world's largest producer and consumer of the fuel [File: Andy Wong/AP Photo]

Authorities say at least 11 people were killed on the outskirts of the historic city of Yanan in the mountainous Shaanxi province.

The explosion took place at 8:26pm (12:26 GMT) on Monday at the Xintai Coal Mine near Yanan, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing the municipal emergency management bureau.

Some 90 people were in the mine at the time of the explosion, nine of whom were trapped inside and were “found with no vital signs” by 9am on Tuesday, according to CCTV.

Two others who made it to the surface “were seriously injured and died after resuscitation efforts failed”, the broadcaster said.

The provincial Department of Emergency Management confirmed the explosion on social media.

Hong Kong’s news outlet China Daily reported that rescue efforts were under way as local emergency management, fire rescue, mining rescue and public security authorities rushed to the scene.

China remains dependent on coal for the bulk of its energy and is the world’s largest producer and consumer of the fuel.

The accident was the deadliest since the February collapse of an open-pit mine in the northern region of Inner Mongolia that killed more than 50.

Officials, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, have called for safety improvements, but that seems to have had a limited effect on mining operations that frequently cut corners while local officials turn a blind eye.

China has experienced a series of deadly industrial and construction accidents in recent months, often as a result of poor safety training and regulation, official corruption and corporate profit-seeking.

Despite some high-profile incidents, the overall number of industrial accidents fell by only 27 percent in 2022, when much of China’s economy was shut down under its “zero COVID” policy, the Ministry of Emergency Management reported. The number of deaths fell by 23.6 percent, the ministry said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies