Divers called in to search flooded Chinese miners

Divers have been recruited to search the flooded shafts of a northern Chinese coal mine for 42 missing miners, the government said Wednesday. Rescuers have been working for days to locate the workers, who were trapped in an underground flood last Friday at the privately owned Sigou Coal Mine in Henan, the official Xinhua News Agency said. A total of 76 miners were working underground at the time and 34 of them escaped.

Six divers were called in to help the search, Xinhua said, citing local Xin'An county official Wang Shuren. Rescuers have also fed a microphone down into the shaft to help listen for signs of life, but have had no indication the workers survived, Xinhua said.

A nearby river broke its banks, causing water to rush into the mine. Some 20,000 cubic meters (706,215 cubic feet) of water had been pumped out by Wednesday, it said. The mine's owner, Jin Changsong, and two other mine officials were detained after having fled, Xinhua reported Monday. Jin did not have a safety license for the mine. China's mines are the deadliest in the world, with more than 6,000 miners killed each year in fires, cave-ins and other accidents. The government has repeatedly vowed to do more to improve mine safety, yet fatalities occur almost daily, reports the AP. I.L.

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