34 Miners Killed, 9 Trapped in Coalmine Accident, SW China

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Thirty-four miners have died and nine more are still trapped underground after a gas leak accident in southwest China's Yunnan province. While rescuers search for the missing men, police are also investigating the duty manager, who should have been in the mine during the shift.

Thirty-four miners were confirmed dead on Sunday after a coalmine gas leak accident in southwest China's Yunnan Province. Nine miners are still trapped underground.

The accident occurred Thursday at Sizhuang Coalmine, located in the county of Shizong.

Authorities have been pumping gasses out of the mine so that they can reach the miners still underground.

[Li Jianjun, Secretary-General, Qujing City]:
"Our next step is to search for miners at level 1724. The problems we face now are coal dust and a high gas concentration, which has reached nearly 55 percent. So our main work is to pump the gas out, clear the coal dust and drain the water out."

About 200 rescuers in six groups are taking turns around the clock to search for the trapped miners.

The duty manager, Qi Guming, originally said that he had been in the mine on the day of the explosion and managed to escape. However, it now appears that his escape was faked.

[Li Jianjun, Secretary-General, Qujing City]:
"A police report shows that Qi Guming confessed that he actually did not go down the shaft that day, which means that he lied. His case is undergoing further investigation."

Qi Guming is currently in police custody.

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