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Report: Rains trap 172 Chinese miners

  • Story Highlights
  • Miners trapped underground in Shangdong province, southeast of Beijing
  • Local officials say 584 miners rescued after rains flood mine shaft
  • Fate of trapped miners not known
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(CNN) -- Heavy rains poured into a coal mine in east China's Shandong province Friday, trapping 172 miners beneath the surface, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua quoted Zhang Dekuan, deputy secretary-general of Shandong's government, saying that 756 miners were underground when the flooding began, and 584 were rescued.

The accident took place at about 2:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) on Friday in the Zhangzhuang mine in Xintai, a city more than 450 kilometers (280 miles) southeast of Beijing.

The mine is owned by Huayuan Co., Xinhua said. Huayuan is headquartered in Xintai.

Xinhua said that the province's top officials, Communist Party leader Li Jianguo and acting governor Jiang Daming, along with other officials, were at the site. Daming was leading the rescue effort, the agency said.

Poor safety standards make Chinese coal mines among the most dangerous in the world.

About 1,800 coal miners died in accidents during the first half of 2007, the Reuters news service reported. Earlier this month, 69 coal miners were rescued in the central province of Henan after being trapped underground for three days by flooding caused by heavy rain, Reuters reported. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Reuters contributed to this report.

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