Blast in Chinese mine kills at least 40, many missing

Other News Materials 6 December 2007 11:31 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - At least 40 people have been killed and over 70 are still unaccounted for following an explosion at a mine in central China early on Thursday morning, state media said.

The accident happened in Hongtong County in the northern province of Shanxi, the heartland of the Chinese coal industry.

Details are still sketchy, but 13 people are thought to have been rescued in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

In a separate incident, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said 11 miners had been trapped for more than three days after a tunnel gave way in an illegal iron and gold mine in the northern province of Hebei.

The Chinese coal mining industry is considered one of the world's most dangerous, and accidents are common at this time of year as coal producers attempt to enhance their output capacity in the run-up to the winter period.

According to Chinese government statistics, a total of 1,920 coal mine accidents, in which 3,069 miners died, were registered in China from January to October 2007.

An average of 13 miners die every day in Chinese mines.