BEIJING — A total of 21 people have been killed and 29 injured in a bus accident blamed on faulty brakes at China’s largest silver mine in the country’s north, the Emergency Management Ministry said Sunday.
Meanwhile, five fishermen were missing after their boat collided with a cargo ship almost ten-times its size on Saturday afternoon in the sea off the eastern province of Zhejiang.
A search was underway and further investigations into both incidents are ongoing.
Saturday morning’s accident at the mine operated by the Yinman Mining Co. in the sprawling Inner Mongolia region occurred when a bus carrying 50 miners to the underground operation crashed into the side of the tunnel. The mine also produces lead and zinc.
A working team from the ministry was sent to “guide and assist” in the rescue and investigation at the accident site.
Executives of the company have been placed under travel restrictions while the investigation is underway, the ministry said.
Yinman is a subsidiary of Inner Mongolia Xingye Mining Co., Ltd. listed on China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and produces around 201 tons of silver annually, according to state media.
China is the world’s third-largest producer of silver, producing 2,500 tons of the metal in 2017, a little more than twice what the U.S. produces.
Photos posted online showed what appeared to be the scene where the bus rammed head-on into an outcropping in the narrow tunnel.
Despite huge safety improvements in recent years, scores of Chinese miners die each year, largely in gas explosions, underground floods and collapses due to structural defects.