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Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 13:15

7 dead in C. China mine blast

By Xinhua
7 dead in C. China mine blast
This picture taken on Dec 6, 2016, shows the scene after a gas outburst at Xinjia Coal Mine in Badong, a county in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, in Hubei Province , on Dec 5. F ive miners have been confirmed dead and six remain trapped in the mine. (Xinhua / Wang Zichen)

WUHAN – The death toll from a coal mine gas outburst in central China has risen to seven as two more bodies were recovered Wednesday morning, said rescuers.

Four miners remain trapped in Xinjia Coal Mine in Badong County, Hubei Province.

Rescue workers are pumping air into the mine shaft to aid the rescue effort.

There were 46 miners working underground at the time of the incident, which occurred around 8 pm Monday. Sixteen people were at the coalface during the outburst. Five managed to escape straight after the outburst, leaving 11 trapped.

7 dead in C. China mine blast
This picture taken on Dec 6, 2016, shows the scene after a gas outburst at Xinjia Coal Mine in Badong, a county in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, in Hubei Province , on Dec 5. F ive miners have been confirmed dead and six remain trapped in the mine. (Xinhua / Wang Zichen)

On Tuesday afternoon, rescuers retrieved five bodies.

There were on average two colliery accidents a month this year, but the rate peaked in November with five cases

The legal representative of the mine is being held by police.

It was the third major mining accident in one week, causing a total of 60 deaths. State media announced the firings of safety officials after a December 3 blast in Inner Mongolia that killed 32 , and the arrests of mine operators after 21 miners were found dead in Heilongjiang province.

China's coal mines have been ordered to conduct a safety overhaul to prevent major accidents as their frequency surged in November.

Song Yuanming, deputy director of the the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said in early December at the national coal trade fair held in Hebei Province that mines should not be operating over capacity and miners should not be asked to work overtime as mines pushed to the limits are prone to accidents.

Song said there were on average two colliery accidents a month this year, but the rate peaked in November with five cases. In one serious case, 33 people were killed in a colliery gas explosion in Chongqing, southwest China.

7 dead in C. China mine blast
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescuers prepare to enter the accident site to search for trapped miners after a gas explosion at the Baoma Mining Co. Ltd. in the city of Chifeng, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Dec 4, 2016. (Xinhua via AP / Lian Zhen)

7 dead in C. China mine blast
Rescuers prepare to enter the accident site to conduct search and rescue operation after a gas explosion at the Baoma Mining Co. Ltd. in the city of Chifeng, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Dec 4, 2016.  (Xinhua via AP / Lian Zhen)

7 dead in C. China mine blast
Rescuers prepare to enter the accident site to search for trapped miners after a gas explosion at the Baoma Mining Co. Ltd. in the city of Chifeng, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Dec 4, 2016. (Xinhua via AP / Lian Zhen)

7 dead in C. China mine blast
In this Nov 30, 2016 photo, rescuers and workers attend a briefing before conducting a search and rescue operation for workers trapped inside a coal mine in Qitaihe City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. (Xinhua via AP / Wang Song)
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