Two separate explosions over the weekend killed at least 14 people, and the demise of four trapped coal miners was confirmed.
An explosion at an illegal coal mine in the city of Liuzhou in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sunday afternoon resulted in the deaths of at least seven people.
The tragedy occurred at a pit in the village of Beigao in the Rongshui Miao Autonomous County at about 4:02 pm, a local official said.
The explosion happened when 11 miners were working underground. Seven were trapped, while the four others managed to escape.
The cause of the accident was still being investigated yesterday.
Also on Sunday, there was a major explosion in a firecracker factory in Liuyang, a renowned firecracker production base in Central China's Hunan Province.
The explosion led to seven deaths, including a couple named Ou Jinchu and Xiong Xiaoyuan. Their young daughter was left in the care of her grandfather, Xiong Yuanfu. The explosion also claimed the lives of two brothers, called Peng Yuanfu and Peng Yuanxia. They were working at the Xiangdong firecracker factory, where the explosion broke out.
The explosion also led to the collapse of several buildings neighbouring the factory and caused the windows of some buildings in the village nearby to shatter.
The local government said the explosion was caused by the spontaneous combustion of humid explosive materials in the workshop.
But insiders said the explosion was a result of the poor quality of the explosive materials used to make the firecrackers.
The local government was carrying out further investigations last night to determine the real cause of the accident.
In Central China's Henan Province, four miners have been confirmed dead while 13 others were still trapped underground last night in the wake of last Thursday's flooding of the Changda coal mine in Dengfeng, a municipal official said yesterday.
Rescue operations organized by the local government were in full swing yesterday, but there was little hope of saving the trapped miners because of the high concentration of poisonous gases, which made up 42 per cent of the air where the miners were trapped, according to Xinhua News Agency.
(China Daily October 14, 2003)