Xi calls for all out effort in rescue work after a coal mine collapses resulting in over 50 trapped, two showed no signs of life
Published: Feb 22, 2023 07:07 PM Updated: Feb 22, 2023 11:07 PM
Rescue scene at a collapsed coal mine in Alxa Left Banner, Alxa league, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Photo: VCG

Rescue scene at a collapsed coal mine in Alxa Left Banner, Alxa league, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Photo: VCG

A large section of an open-pit coal mine in Inner Mongolia collapsed on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in 53 people missing, two dead and six injured. After the accident, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all-out efforts to help those who were injured and search for the missing individuals.

The accident occurred in a coal mine in Alxa Left Banner, Alxa league, Inner Mongolia. A video shows several workers and vehicles were buried in the wake of the mine collapse. Media reported that more than 50 remain trapped, two died and six injured as of press time.

After the incident, Xi made important instruction, requiring all efforts to be made to search for missing persons, fully treat the injured, and properly handle the aftermath. According to the instruction, scientific rescue should be organized, monitoring and early warning should be strengthened to prevent secondary disasters. The President also instructed to find the cause of the accident, and hold those responsible accountable. 

Minister of Emergency Management Wang Xiangxi led a rescue team to the scene on Wednesday night. The ministry also dispatched rescue teams with equipment. The National Health Commission also dispatched a group of expert to Alxa Left Banner after the incident. The group consists of 45 medical experts and 15 ambulances.

An employee told media that the collapse may be caused by landslide, and the site has been closed off. "The mine has about 600 employees," according to the employee. A worker from the coal mine told The Paper that the mine had been in operation even during the Spring Festival holidays. 

A worker from the mine told media that the mine had been dug very deep when the incident occurred. Stones and ashes rolled down when the mine collapsed, and most of those who buried underground are drivers of diggers and tip trucks.

Local authorities have launched a first level emergency response. So far, 334 rescue workers have arrived at the scene, with 129 rescue vehicles and nine safety experts, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

A worker from the mine told the Global Times that drones are currently estimating the size of the collapsed area and that the length of collapse is estimated 400 meters, according to estimation. 

According to record, the mine was punished in June 2022 after two safety workers were found working there without certificate, and inspectors did not fill in shift record according to rules and other safety hazards. 

The mine has been placed on debt-defaulter list for 13 times, according to online business information provider Tianyancha. It said that the coal mine has been involved in hundreds of law suits since 2014 to 2022, for outstanding payment on equipment and other disputes.

In 2022, the mine had arrears of more than 8 million yuan ($1.16 million) in resource taxes, and 2 million yuan in value-added tax, according to media reports.