Miners trapped by flooding in eastern China

ANGRY relatives demanded answers yesterday as hopes dwindled for 181 miners trapped underground more than 48 hours after a collapsed dike in eastern China flooded two coal mines.

Li Yizhong, head of China’s work safety body said the breach in the dike in Shandong province had been closed.

“The installation of pump equipment and the pumping of water in the shafts has already started,” said Li, head of the State Administration of Work Safety.

There was no indication whether the miners were still alive or how long the process would take.

They have been trapped since Friday afternoon when the Wen river burst a dike, flooding a shaft at the Huayuan Mining Co mine, and stranding 172 miners.

Nine more miners were trapped when water poured into a nearby mine shaft. Both are about 370 miles southeast of Beijing.

Officials blocked access to the mine, but family members could be seen arriving at the gates to a compound that appeared to house offices of the company.

At one gate, about 30 relatives and an equal number of bystanders yelled at guards and officials for information. Several relatives were roughed up.

Ren Hua, wife of a trapped miner, said she was called Friday and told that water was being pumped out of the mine.

But when she arrived Saturday she found the pumping had not started.

Others also complained of a lack of information, saying no lists of trapped miners had been given out.

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