China says 42 dead, 66 trapped in mine explosion

China says 42 dead, 66 t

November 21, 2009 16:36

A gas explosion tore through a state-run coal mine in northern China on Saturday, killing 42 people and leaving 66 others trapped underground as rescuers worked hastily to save them. China's mines are the world's deadliest, and the blast shows the difficulties the government faces in trying to boost safety in an industry where large state-owned coal mines are considered safer than smaller, private ones. A total of 528 people were working in the Xinxing mine in Heilongjiang province at the time of the 2:30 a.m. explosion, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a statement. It said 389 escaped after the blast. China Central Television reported that 42 were dead, 31 rescued and the others trapped about 500 meters underground. The report said the explosion was caused by a gas buildup.

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