44 miners dead, others trapped in China mine blast

At least 44 miners died and 21 remained trapped underground after a gas blast ripped through a coal mine in northern China on Sunday, state media said. The official Xinhua News Agency said the pre-dawn blast occurred while 436 workers were in the Tunlan Coal Mine in Gujiao city near Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province. Rescuers said the death toll had risen to 44 by 11 a.m. local time, Xinhua said in a brief dispatch without providing details. State television channel CCTV reported that 21 workers remained trapped. Earlier reports said 340 miners had escaped but 96 were trapped underground. Those reports said 11 miners had died after being taken to hospitals.