China: Rescue crews race time to free 21 miners trapped in flooded coal mine

Eight miners have been rescued and 21 remain trapped in a coal mine that flooded in northwest China’s Xinjiang region, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday, citing a local emergency department.

A part of the mine flooded leading to power outages just after 6:00pm local time Saturday when 29 miners were working at the mine located in Xinjiang’s Hutubi county, the report said.

In a separate report, state media outlet Global Times said 12 of the miners who remain trapped have been located in the mine as of Sunday and are expected to be rescued, while a further nine workers have not been located.

The flooding is reported to have hampered rescue efforts by cutting power underground and disrupting communication lines.

Rescuers have been trying to pump water out of the flooded shaft while simultaneously pumping air into the mine, according to CCTV.

Further pipes are being laid but the operation is expected to be challenging, the broadcaster added.

Mining accidents are not uncommon in China, where the industry safety regulations can be poorly enforced.

Ten gold miners were confirmed dead in January following an explosion in a mine in China’s coastal Shandong province.

In December last year, 23 people were killed after being trapped in a mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing. Three months earlier, 16 people died in a separate coal mine in the same area.

State media on Sunday said rescue efforts in the Xinjiang mine were ongoing.