The cave-in at the coal mine.(Photo by Wei Xiangyang and Chen Xinyu)
A sudden collapse of the ground that took place at around 9 a.m., on June 4 buried three men in a coal truck in a coal pit. By 8 p.m. of last night, the three, including the 26-year-old He Xue, 25-year-old Xiang Bin and over 40-year-old Wang Zhiyong, were yet undiscovered although two shovels and two excavators had been working the whole day.
"Within less than one second, both the man and the truck got stuck", said Wang Ximing. He was driving a coal shovel to load coal to the truck when the collapse occurred. Before this, he had driven the coal shovel for a dozen times and loaded some 40 tons of coal to the truck,
Wang said he heard a boom sound after he had just loaded one bucket of coal on the carriage and turned the shovel to five meters away. He found the truck tilted to the left, the rear suddenly sank into the earth and then, the truck, along with the three persons, instantly stuck in the pit.
The collapse left a 20-square-meter pit, next to a 10-meter-high coal pile. The intermittent rain made the edge of the coal pit continuous collapse and rescue cannot conduct along the pit.
The coal mine was taken over by a company called Xinyuan and the collapsed area had been fully exploited. In 2006, a 10-meter-high of pit caved in, only 80 meters away from here.