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Sounds Heard In China Mine With 153 Trapped

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Rescuers heard tapping sounds Friday from the pipes in a flooded Chinese coal mine where 153 workers were trapped more than five days earlier, and another rescue team reportedly heard shouts, an official said.

The sounds at the Wangjialing mine in the northern province of Shanxi were the first signs of life since the mine was flooded Sunday afternoon, rescue official Zhao Chuan said.

“I’m so happy to hear the news, and I think everybody is,” Tang Yinfeng, whose brother-in-law is trapped, said Friday night. “The rescue work is much faster than before. We’re grateful for their effort.”

Footage on the state broadcaster also showed rescuers tapping on pipes with a wrench, and then cheering and jumping for joy when they heard a response. One man wiped tears from his eyes.

Government officials say the flood was triggered when workers digging tunnels broke through into an old shaft filled with water. About 3,000 rescuers were working around the clock to pump water out of the mine Friday. Earlier, relatives had complained the work was proceeding too slowly.

Wen Changjin, an official from the news center set up at the site, said rescuers tapping on the pipes began to hear tapping responses from about 820 feet (250 meters) below ground at around 2 p.m.

Zhao told the associated press by telephone that he had heard from colleagues that another rescue team reported hearing people shouting underground as well but he could not immediately confirm that account. Wen said officials at the news centre had not heard reports of shouting.

He said rescuers have started sending glucose and milk down the pipes to the spot where the tapping was heard.

Zhao was quoted by state-run China Central Television as saying that an iron wire was found tied to a drill rod and rescuers think it may have been attached by one of the trapped miners. Images of the iron wire showed it had been shaped into a circle, with its ends twisted together.

The 153 workers were believed to be trapped on nine different platforms in the mine, which was flooded with up to 37 million gallons (140,000 cubic meters) of water, the equivalent of more than 55 Olympic swimming pools, state television has reported.

Rescuers said four of the platforms were not totally submerged, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Friday evening.

“It is believed that some workers may have a chance of survival,” a spokesman for the rescue headquarters, Liu Dezheng, told state media Wednesday. “We will go all out to save them.”

The water level underground had dropped by 2.6 yards (meters) as of noon Friday, our source reported.

David Creedy, a former mine consultant who now works in China as coal mine methane director for Sindicatum Carbon Capital, said if the mine’s tunnels remain open with no cave-ins, rescuers should be able to reach the miners by pumping out the water or sending a diver through.

He said the survival of those trapped depends on several factors, including how cold and wet they are and how much air is available.

“Certainly for the current time, a week or so, there’s a good chance,” he said.

Another mine safety expert said the quality of the air below ground was a concern.

“It’s not only the oxygen but whether the air has poisonous gases and whether the miners can drink the water or if it’s polluted, since it came from an abandoned mine,” added David Feickert, who advises the Chinese government.

A preliminary investigation found that the Wangjialing mine’s managers caused overcrowding in the shaft by assigning extra tunneling crews in a rush to finish the work, and ignored warning signs, the State Administration of Work Safety said.

“Water leaks were found numerous times on underground shafts,” but the mine’s managers “did not take the actions necessary to evacuate people,” it said.

It could prove to be the deadliest mine accident in China since a coal mine flood in eastern Shandong province in August 2007 killed 172 miners.

China’s coal mines are the world’s deadliest, despite a multiyear government effort to reduce fatalities. Most accidents are blamed on failure to follow safety rules or lack of required ventilation, fire controls and equipment.

Accidents killed 2,631 coal miners in China last year, down from 6,995 deaths in 2002, the most dangerous year on record, according to the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.

Also Friday, officials said the death toll from an explosion at another mine in central China had risen to 19 people, with 24 still trapped underground.

A gas leak caused Wednesday night’s blast, according to a report on the Web site for Luoyang city in the central province of Henan.

In a third accident, a coal mine fire in the northwestern province of Shaanxi killed nine people Thursday evening, Xinhua said. Another 17 miners escaped. Xinhua did not say what caused the accident.

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Firm Launches New Radio Campaign For Product

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An oil and gas firm, 11 Plc, has launched a new jingle for its mobil super lubricants.
The firm in a statement recently indicated that it is the sole distributor of Mobil fuel and lubricant brands in Nigeria, noting that the radio campaign was aimed at making the brand Nigerian customers’ choice.
“The campaign, which hit the airwaves three weeks ago, was launched to create fresh awareness for all category users of the premium lubricants during the Easter and Ramadan period and beyond”, the statement said.
According to the firm, Mobil Superbrand is a global family of premium passenger vehicle engine oils that provides different levels of protection to match whatever conditions users of the products may encounter.
The company said its vision was to be the number one business group in Nigeria in terms of sustained service, quality and reliability and the first brand of preference by the consumers whilst conducting operations with high safety standards and environmental compliance.
It added that it aimed to provide the best in class products, services and solutions to customers with a focus on safety and environmental standards.

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Arik Air Explains Flight Cancellation In PH Airport

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Arik Airline has clarified that the incident that resulted in passengers getting stranded at Port Harcourt Airport last Tuesday was due to adverse weather conditions.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Public Relations Manager of the airline, Adebanji Ola.
Some passengers of the Arik Air had expressed frustration over being left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport after their flight to Lagos was abruptly cancelled.
The affected passengers, scheduled for the flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos State, got upset by the development, and took to social media platforms to express their grievances.
Nevertheless, the airline had in the statement, reiterated its commitment to safety, highlighting its strict policy to avoid flying in inclement weather conditions, which they said had necessitated the cancellation of the affected flight.
It extended its apologies to customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the unforeseen circumstances, reaffirming its dedication to prioritising passenger welfare.
“We are aware of a recent story circulated in social media alleging that passengers were left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport under our care. It is imperative that we provide clarity on this matter to rectify any misconceptions.
“In the evening of Tuesday, April 2, 2024, our flight W3 744 Lagos-Port Harcourt was compelled to make an air return due to adverse weather conditions, specifically heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Port Harcourt.
“Consequently, both the Lagos-Port Harcourt (W3 744) and Port Harcourt-Lagos (W3 745) flights had to be cancelled.
“It is crucial to note that by the time of the cancellation, our banking facilities at the airport had ceased operations, rendering funds unfeasible at that moment.
“However, the passengers were promptly briefed on the situation and advised to return the following day for re-protection on available flights”, it stated.
The statement added that on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, all the affected passengers from both Lagos and Port Harcourt were successfully accommodated on available morning and evening flights.

Corlins Walter

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Settlement On Course For Redundancy Benefits – Aero Airline 

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The Aero Contractors Airline has affirmed  its commitment to clear the remaining five per cent of redundancy benefits owed its workers.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, in a press release said the firm was intensifying efforts to address outstanding financial commitments.
He faulted the move by workers union, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), to issue a press statement, despite ongoing efforts to resolve the issue amicably.
“This should not be an opportunity for disharmony, dialogue is a process. There was a letter written, there was a process agreed upon, and all of a sudden they went to the press. We are ready to resolve the issue”, the CEO stated.
NAAPE had recently issued a letter threatening to go on a protest over non-payment of outstanding redundancy benefits to its members.
The group accused the management of Aero Contractors of depriving the affected former workers access to their entitled benefits.
The protest letter, addressed to the management of the airline, read in part: “Consequent upon the avalanche of complaints received from our members who have been deprived of their fundamental entitlements and denied the rightful collection of their redundancy benefits in the last seven years and given the anguish and mental agonies suffered by them, We are compelled, as responsible representatives of these eminent men/women, including the dead, to protest through this letter and express our bitterness over management’s seeming lackadaisical attitude, insincerity and insensitivity to the continued wellbeing of these great Nigerians”.
The Aero CEO, however, clarified that in the last seven years, the company has paid approximately 95 per cent of the redundancy benefits.
“We should be given credit because this management initiated the process of paying off redundancy. We want our prospective investors to understand that we are a very responsible company, and we take our obligations seriously, not only for staff but also in other areas.
“We update them on a day-to-day basis to ensure business continuity. It is a very tough environment in which we are operating”, he said.
Sanusi stressed the importance of maintaining transparency and communication with stakeholders throughout the process.
He said despite challenges posed by fluctuating exchange rates and fuel costs, Aero Contractors remained steadfast in its efforts to uphold its obligations and ensure business continuity.

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