February 25, 2009 / 4:36 AM / 10 years ago

China official weeps, apologises for mine disaster

BEIJING, Feb 25 (Reuters) - The governor of China’s coal-rich northern province of Shanxi wept as he apologised for a mine explosion that killed 74 people as an initial probe blamed negligence for the disaster.

Wang Jun, who replaced the province’s former governor after the collapse of an unlicensed tailings dam at an iron ore mine killed 277 people in September, broke down while apologising to the families of victims, state media said on Wednesday.

“The accident has resulted in a tremendously bad influence. We’ve let down the deceased miners and their families,” the China Daily quoted him as saying.

Wang had held a conference about mine safety the day before the accident, when he told officials “we cannot weep any more”, the China News Agency said.

More than 400 miners were working underground at the time of the blast at the Tunlan mine near Shanxi’s provincial capital, Taiyuan.

China’s coal mining industry is the world’s most dangerous, killing nearly 3,800 people in 2007. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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