The owner of the collapsed gypsum mine in China apparently committed suicide by jumping down a mine well, as rescuers were trying to reach 17 trapped miners from Friday’s accident.
One person died and four miners escaped when the mine collapsed in China’s eastern Shandong province. The owner of the mine drowned after he jumped into a well. He killed himself in an apparent suicide, as more than 700 rescuers battled to save workers trapped for two days underground.
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State media reported that 17 workers were still trapped, and one had died when the gypsum mine collapsed on Friday in the eastern province of Shandong.
The president of the company that owns the mine, Ma Congbo, of Yurong Commerce and Trade Ltd. Co., was helping rescue efforts when State media, when he jumped into a mine well and drowned, according to state media who were quoting a morning briefing by the rescue command center.
Rescuers have drilled a hole to try to get to one of the places where the workers are trapped, and are attempting to bring food and water to them.
A total of 29 people were working underground when the collapse occurred at about 8am on Friday and ten of them were rescued on the same day.
Chinese authorities have typically meted out harsh punishments, including jail sentences, to company management and local work safety officials following major work safety disasters.
Accidents in Chinese coal mines killed 931 people last year, according to government data, while figures for all mining accidents were unavailable.
The cause of Friday’s accident at the mine in Shandong province is under investigation, according to Xinhua state media.
China, the world’s largest producer of coal, says the number of fatalities is declining. But some rights groups argue the actual figures are significantly higher due to under-reporting.
Anger about industrial safety standards is growing after scores of deaths this year, including this month’s landslide in the southern commercial hub of Shenzhen and a chemical blast in the industrial city of Tianjin in August.
Since the mine collapse on Friday, rescuers have pulled 11 workers to safety and recovered one body.
Miners were extracting Gypsum, a soft sulfate mineral that is widely used in construction.
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