Xinhua reports chief of China's work safety watchdog on Saturday decried the poor safety standards at a coal mine where rescuers had pulled out 30 bodies and are still searching for 13 others following a gas outburst three days ago.
Director of the State Administration of Work Safety Luo Lin, who led a investigation of the Sizhuang Coal Mine, located in the county of Shizong in southwestern Yunnan province, described the mine's safety measures as "very poor."
"There was no monitoring system in the mine; the accident prevention measures were inadequate; and managers defied the order that they should go down in the mine with workers," Luo said.
On Thursday, a powerful gas outburst hit one underground platform of the mine and later spread to another platform, trapping a total of 43 miners. By 7:25 p.m. Saturday, 30 bodies have been found while 13 others remain missing.
Tunnels were blocked, equipment damaged, toxic gases leaked after the ejaculation of gases, coal and rocks, hampering rescue efforts. Rescuers said by Saturday about 240 tonnes of coal dust had been cleared out and a 250-meter-long section of the mine tunnel had been cleared.
The mine's bosses had been detained as the probe is underway, local officials said.
The mine was found to be operating illegally, having had its license revoked a year ago, according to a statement from the provincial coal safety supervision bureau. The bureau ordered the mine to stop production in April.
Each of the families of 17 victims has received 10,000 yuan (1,577 U.S. dollars) for funeral expenses. Each dead miner's family will get a compensation package of 660,000 yuan, according to rescue headquarters, local officials said.
The accident of Sizhuang coal mine, the deadliest in Yunnan in 15 years, was the second deadly disaster to hit China's dangerous mining sector in a week. On Nov. 3, a rock outburst occurred in a coal mine in central Henan province, triggered by a 2.9-magnitude earthquake. Eight miners were killed, but 53 others, including 45 who had been trapped underground for 40 hours, were saved in a miracle rescue.
Latest official data shows that more than 2,600 people died in mining accidents in 2009.