According to local authorities, a coal mine fire that occurred on Sunday in the Guizhou province of southwest China claimed at least 16 lives.
In a notice published on its website on Sunday night, the Panzhou City government stated that the fire at the Shanjiaoshu Coal Mine started approximately 8:10 am (00:10 GMT).
“It was preliminarily determined that the conveyor belt caught fire, causing 16 people to be trapped,” it added, with no further details on what was damaged or how the fire began.
After the fire was put out and the temperature at the scene stabilized, the notice stated that “after preliminary verification, 16 people have no vital signs.”
About 3,600 kilometers (2,250 miles) southwest of Beijing’s capital is where you’ll find the Panzhou City mine.
Numerous coal mines are in operation in China, the world’s largest emitter of the chemicals that cause climate change, despite Beijing’s vow to reach a peak in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Although safety standards in the nation’s mining industry have increased recently, accidents still frequently occur in the sector, frequently as a result of slack implementation of rules, especially at the most basic locations.
According to official statistics, 168 incidents resulted in 245 fatalities last year.
11 individuals were murdered in an explosion at a coal mine in the Shaanxi province of northern China last month, nine of them were trapped there. According to reports at the time in the state media, two more persons made it to the surface before they died from their wounds.
In the distant and sparsely populated Alxa League of northern Inner Mongolia, a coal mine partially collapsed in February after a 180-meter-high (590-foot) slope broke way. Authorities kept the final death toll a secret for months despite the fact that dozens of people and vehicles were buried beneath a mountain of debris.
Only in June was it made public that 53 individuals had died.
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the time instructed officials to “do everything possible to search for and rescue the missing people… and protect the security of people’s lives and property as well as overall social stability” as an indication of the seriousness of that occurrence.
According to local government announcements, authorities sent hundreds of employees and more than 100 pieces of equipment as part of the rescue operation.
And in December, a gold mine collapsed in the northwest Xinjiang region when about 40 workers were working underground.