Rescuers prepare to get into the well at the Xingdong No.2 Mine in Weidong District of Pingdingshan, central China's Henan Province, on June 21, 2010. At least 47 people died after an explosion struck the coal mine early Monday in Henan Province, the local government said. (Xinhua/Zhao Peng)
PINGDINGSHAN, Henan, June 22 (Xinhua) -- A coal mine in central China's Henan Province where an underground explosion killed 47 people Monday was operating illegally, officials said Tuesday.
The operation license of Xingdong No. 2 Mine in Weidong District, Pingdingshan City, expired on June 6, and the district government cut its electricity supply on June 7, according to local officials.
But mine manager Liu Jianguo still managed to produce coal even as ten district government supervisors were stationed at the mine, said Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety.
The shaft should have been sealed with concrete but instead it was covered with a "moveable" cement board, reporters at the scene witnessed.
"The accident shows safety regulations were not strictly observed at the grassroots level and that some regulators may be in cahoots with mine owners," said Luo.
Seventy-five miners were underground when the blast occurred. Twenty-five of the 28 rescued miners were hospitalized, one of whom has been discharged. Fifteen are in stable conditions while the nine others are in serious conditions.