Mine officials in Zhangzhang near Xintai in China are denying they are abandoning the search for some 180 miners who have been trapped underground since Friday. Fighting broke out between miners’ families and police at one point on Monday when a rumour went through crowds waiting for news that the water pumps trying to stop flooding of the mine had been switched off, signalling the end to the search for the lost men. People surged into the mining complex and rained stones onto the administration building before being pushed back. There are no reports of injuries or arrests.
However hope is now all but extinguished that any of the miners will be found alive, and people are angry that they are the last to hear any news. “Why do people all around the world know about the accident but we standing out here know nothing about it? I have to go on the internet to get any information,” shouted one angry man at the ranks of police officers.
The disaster began when a nearby river burst its banks and water rushed into the mineshafts. Shandong province is a Swiss cheese of pits and accidents are common in what is regarded as the world’s most dangerous mining industry. The state-run media is hardly mentioning the incident, which if it plays out as most now fear, would be China’s deadliest mine accident in two years.