Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

China flooded mine traps dozens in Inner Mongolia


Rescue workers are attempting to reach at least 31 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in the Inner Mongolia region of China, say officials.

One person has been killed in the flooded mine, near the city of Wuhai, 1,000km (600 miles) west of Beijing.

State media said powerful water pumps were being used but that 12 hours after the flood, "no progress" had been made.

China's coal mines remain notoriously dangerous despite tighter government regulations aimed at upgrading safety.

China Daily said 77 miners had been working at depths of up to 289m (948ft), when the mine flooded in the early hours of Monday morning. And a regional mining official told the newspaper 46 of them had been rescued by Monday evening.

According to official figures, 2,631 coal miners died in 1,616 mine accidents in China in 2009, down 18% from the previous year.

The government says the fall was due to a tightening of regulations and the closure of some 1,000 smaller and less well-regulated mines.

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