2009 Heilongjiang mine explosion

2009 Heilongjiang mine explosion
China Heilongjiang.svg
Heilongjiang province
Date November 21, 2009 (2009-11-21)
Time 02:30 CST
Location Hegang, Heilongjiang, China
108 dead and 29 injured

The 2009 Heilongjiang mine explosion (Chinese: 鹤岗新兴煤矿爆炸事故; pinyin: Hègǎng Xīnxīng méikuàng bàozhà shìgù) was a mining accident that occurred on November 21 2009, near Hegang in the Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, which killed over 108 people.[1] A further of 29 people were hospitalised.[2][3] The explosion occurred in the Xinxing coal mine shortly before dawn, at 02:30 CST, when 528 people were believed to be in the pit. Of these, 420 are believed to have been rescued.

Location and explosion

The mine, located close to the China–Russia border, is owned by the state-run[4] Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group Co., Ltd., which has been open since 1917,[4] and produces 12 million tons of coal per year,[5] making it one of the largest and oldest coal mines in the country.[6] The explosion itself, a preliminary investigation concluded, was caused by trapped, pressurised gases underground,[7][8][9] caused by poor ventilation in the mine shaft.[10] The blast was powerful enough that it was felt six miles away. Many nearby buildings were damaged, including one next to the mine whose roof was blown off.[11] The director of Hegang General hospital, where the injured were being treated, told the Xinhua News Agency that "most of the injured are suffering from compound injuries, such as respiratory injuries, broken bones and gas poisoning".[6][9]


A Chinese official said rescue efforts were being impeded by gas and debris from collapsed tunnels.[5] The death toll makes it the worst accident of its type within the past two years.[7] While hope for those trapped was fading, a Chinese official stated that the effort was still a rescue operation.[12] San Jingguang, a mining company spokesman stated that "if we haven't found them, to us that means they are still alive."[11]

Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang visited the site to inspect rescue efforts on the afternoon of November 21, while President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao are both said to have "made instructions on the rescue work".[2] Both have also expressed condolences for those killed.[13] Meanwhile, Li Zhanshu, the governor of Heilongjiang called for increased safety standards in Chinese mines,[13] and the provincial work safety bureau vowed to step up its mining reform programme.[6]

Chinese state television initially reported that the death toll was 31.[14] It later reported the number of dead had more than doubled over the extremely cold night.[4][5]

As a result of the accident, the director, vice director and chief engineer of the mining company are reported to have been removed from their individual posts.[9][13][15] The Chinese state prosecutor is investigating the possibility that criminal negligence was responsible for the disaster.[9][16] Chinese state media reported on November 23, 2009, that an investigation had concluded poor management was to blame for the incident.[10] Relatives of the deceased also claimed on November 23 that officials did not notify them of the accident.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "Mine Explosion Killed 108" (in Chinese). Sina.com. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b Bradsher, Keith (22 November 2009). "At least 87 dies in Chinese mine explosion". New York Times. New York. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  3. ^ "At least 89 killed in coal mine blast". USA: Statesman.com. 22 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  4. ^ a b c MacArtney, Jane (22 November 2009). "Scores dead in China mine explosion". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Duncan, Maxim (22 November 2009). "China mine explosion death toll reaches 87". London: Reuters. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "87 workers perish in China mine disaster". Philippines: Philippine Daily Inquirer. 22 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-11-23. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  7. ^ a b "China coal mine blast death toll reaches 87". London: BBC News. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  8. ^ "China mine death toll hits 92". Atlanta: CNN. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  9. ^ a b c d "92 killed in China mine disaster". Sydney: Sydney Morning Herald. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  10. ^ a b "Management blamed in China mine blas that kills 104". New York: CNN. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  11. ^ a b Cassidy, Katie (22 November 2009). "China mine gas explosion death toll rises". London: Sky News. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Survivors recount mine disaster". New York: Associated Press. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  13. ^ a b c "Hopes fade for miners as fatal blast toll hits 92". Shanghai: Shanghai Daily News. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  14. ^ "Mine blast kills 42, scores still trapped in debris". Paris: France24. 21 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-11-24. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  15. ^ "China coal mine death toll hits 92". New York: Bloomberg. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  16. ^ "Mine explosion death toll reaches 92 in China". Gulf Times. 22 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  17. ^ Kosich, Dorothy (23 November 2009). "Deadly blast in state owned Chinese coal mine in Heilongjiang kills 104 miners". Nevada: Mineweb. Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 23 November 2009.

Coordinates: 47°18′50″N 130°16′39″E / 47.31389°N 130.27750°E / 47.31389; 130.27750