CHENGDU, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Authorities have halted their search of a coal mine in southwest China's Sichuan province after confirming that no signs of life have been detected from miners who went missing after a gas explosion occurred there five days ago.
The Yongsheng coal mine, still filled with dense flammable gas and dust, was sealed off on Friday, ending the search for six missing miners.
An official in charge of the rescue efforts said it would be extremely dangerous to continue the search, as new explosions and cave-ins are likely to occur at any time.
"The environment where the six were trapped was extremely bad. No signs of life have been found," said the official, who declined to be named.
He said the decision was made after consulting four experts called in by the State Administration of Work Safety to assist in the rescue. The relatives of the missing miners were also notified and counseled.
Three people were killed when the explosion occurred in the city of Wanyuan on Sept. 9. Thirteen of the 24 miners working underground at the time of accident managed to escape. Rescuers pulled two survivors and three bodies out of the mine two days later.
The government has started accountability-related procedures and several top officials from the city's work safety and production supervision authorities have been suspended from their posts.
The owners of the mine are in police custody.
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