CHINA – Rescue attempts hampered

DANGEROUS LEVELS OF carbon monoxide have prevented rescuers from reaching the 141 men trapped in the Chenjiashan mine. Nearly 300 miners were working when a gas explosion happened at the weekend at the coal mine in central China.

At least 25 miners are known to have been killed by the blast, and of the 127 who escaped, many were taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, 45 were injured and 11 are said to be in a serious condition. Most of the miners who escaped were working near the surface, it is feared that those trapped are much deeper in the mine.

The accident happened just two days after the Shaanxi provincial government issued an order stepping up mine inspections, ordering mines with substandard ventilation systems to close.

President Hu Jintao, has said everything must be done to save the trapped men. About 2,000 rescuers are reported to be at the scene, but one official said, “it is virtually impossible that the missing men could have survived due to the lack of air in the area where they’re trapped.”

Workers and relatives of the missing men vented their anger on mine officials due to the fact that many workers were down in the mine because they had been forced to work overtime by the management.