Mining has always been a risky occupation, especially in developing nations and countries with lax safety standards. Here are the deadliest mine accidents in the world.
This iron and coal mine started under dual Chinese and Japanese control in 1905, but the mine was in territory invaded by the Japanese and became a mine using Japanese forced labor. On April 26, 1942, a coal-dust explosion -- a prevalent hazard in underground mines -- killed a full third of the workers on duty at the time: 1,549 dead. A frenzied effort to cut off the ventilation and seal the mine to kill the fire reportedly left many unevacuated workers who initially survived the blast to suffocate to death. It took 10 days to remove the bodies -- 31 Japanese, the rest Chinese -- and they were buried in a mass grave. Tragedy struck China again when 682 died on May 9, 1960, in the Laobaidong colliery coal dust explosion.
Courrières mine disaster
Japan coal mining disasters
On Dec. 15, 1914, a gas explosion at the Mitsubishi Hojyo coal mine in Kyūshū, Japan, killed 687, making it the deadliest mine accident in Japan's history. But this country would see its share of more tragedy down below. On Nov. 9, 1963, 458 miners were killed in the Mitsui Miike coal mine in Omuta, Japan, 438 of those from carbon monoxide poisoning. This, the largest coal mine in the country, didn't cease operation until 1997.
Welsh coal mining disasters
The Senghenydd Colliery Disaster happened on Oct. 14, 1913, during a period of peak coal output in the United Kingdom. The cause was most likely a methane explosion that ignited coal dust. The death toll was 439, making it the most deadly mine accident in the UK. This was the worst of a spate of mine disasters in Wales that occurred during a period of shoddy mine safety from 1850 to 1930. On June 25, 1894, 290 died at the Albion Colliery in Cilfynydd, Glamorgan, in a gas explosion. On Sept. 22, 1934, 266 died in the Gresford Disaster near Wrexham in North Wales. And on Sept. 11, 1878, 259 were killed at the Prince of Wales Mine, Abercarn, Monmouthshire, in an explosion.