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19 killed in China mine blast

Nineteen people were killed today when a gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in China's south-western Guizhou province.

world Updated: Mar 16, 2011 11:24 IST

Nineteen people were killed today when a gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in China's south-western Guizhou province.

"A blast ripped through the Xincheng coal mine in Panxian County, Liupanshui City, at 0:30 am (local time) today when 34 mine workers were working underground," the local government said in a statement.

Fifteen miners managed to escape, but rest killed in the blast, state-run Xinhua reported.

All the bodies have been retrieved. The incident happened a day after a similar blast at a mine in Hunan province killed nine people.

The explosion took place at Jinyue No 2 mine in Yankou township of Lengshuijiang City at 12:36 pm yesterday when 36 miners were underground. The mine's production license was expired, the city government said. It was supposed to undergo official inspection before resuming operation.

Sixty-seven miners were sent to work underground last morning. Four inspectors from Lengshuijiang's bureau of coal mine industry found dangerous levels of gas there and ordered the miners to return to ground. Thirty-one miners were evacuated in time and another 27 escaped the blast. Six bodies were found yesterday and the remaining three were recovered this afternoon, a media report said.

In wake of the deadly explosion, Lengshuijiang city government has ordered all local mines to halt production for safety inspections. Officials claim the accidents in the coal mines in energy hungry China came down in the recent months after government passed stringent rules, stipulating the senior managerial staff to accompany the miners to ensure safety were in place.

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