State officials call for a major overhaul of safety practices

A gas explosion killed 74 people and left 114 others injured on Sunday morning (February 22) at a coal mine in China’s northern province of Shanxi.

The accident occurred in the early hours while 436 miners were working underground at the Tunlan Coal Mine in Gujiao City, about 50 km away from Taiyuan, the provincial capital, reported Xinhua, the official news agency.

Miners suffered carbon monoxide poisoning after the mines ventilation system broke down. Around 224 rescuers came to the aid of the miners, according to the reports.

Chinese officials said the mine was one of the best in the country with an annual production of 5m tonnes of coal. It had reportedly suffered no major accidents in the past five years.

“Chinese officials said the mine was one of the best in the country.

After the accident, officials urged all mining companies to carry out a safety checks. The chief engineer, the head of worker safety and the mine boss were all removed from their posts by the State Administration for Work Safety.

The Governor of Shanxi Province Wang Jun on Tuesday made an apology to victims and their families.

He said the province would start a year long campaign to improve work safety on state-owned mines.

The last governor of Shanxi resigned from his post last year in the wake of a deadly mud-rock flow that killed at least 277 people.