|Cross-border exploitation by a nearby private coal mine was to blame for the flooding that trapped 12 miners underground Sunday in Chaohua Town of Xinmi City, central China's Henan Province, rescuers said.
The fate of the 12 miners was still unknown as rescue work entered the second day.
A nearby private coal mine had invaded 320 meters into the territory of the colliery operated by the state-owned Zhengzhou Coal Industrial Corp., forming a mined-out area of more than 60,000 cubic meters, according to a joint investigation by the provincial and local governments.
The mined-out area held an estimated 28,000 cubic meters of water, which suddenly poured down Sunday afternoon when mining by the Chaohua colliery was going on below the area, the investigation showed.
The search for the missing miners was temporarily halted Monday afternoon due to flooding though the local government had mobilized all water-pumping equipment nearby to try to lower the water level inside the flooded shaft.
Rescue workers said there was still a possibility for those missing miners to survive if they had run against the flood direction to higher ground.
Six rescue teams are rushing against time to bring fresh air into the coal shaft, pumping out water and cleaning out the mud, a spokesman for the company said.
The colliery has an annual production capacity of 2.4 million tons.