Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 10:36 UK

Bid to reach trapped China miners


One man is rescued from the flooded mine

Chinese rescue workers are struggling to reach 30 miners, a day after they were trapped underground when the mine they were in was flooded.

Rescuers have made contact with some of the men but six have been confirmed dead, and there has been no word from the others, state media says.

The incident happened at the Nadu mine in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

China's mines are the most dangerous in the world. Nearly 4,000 Chinese miners died last year in accidents.

Sending food

A total of 56 men were working inside the coal mine when the floodwater poured in on Monday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Twenty managed to escape or were rescued, but the others are still missing underground.

Six were confirmed dead on Tuesday afternoon, Xinhua said.

Rescuers have made contact with 12 of the trapped miners, and have been trying to send them porridge and water, Xinhua added.

"They were trapped in a place about 2,000 m ( 2180 yards ) from the entrance," it quoted a rescuer as saying.

"The lack of oxygen in the narrow mining tunnel would make it difficult for the exhausted miners to get out by themselves."

The Chinese government has taken measures to improve mine safety standards in recent years.

But the soaring demand for energy and widespread local corruption mean that owners and operators often ignore safety measures in favour of increased production and greater profits.

The chief engineer at Nadu mine, Huang Zhao, told the state news agency Xinhua that the mine's ventilation, drainage and lift facilities all complied with government regulations.

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