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27 found dead in China mine blast: report

Twenty seven workers have been found dead while seven remain trapped after an explosion at a coal mine in northern China, state media said on Saturday.

world Updated: Jun 14, 2008 07:38 IST

Twenty seven workers have been found dead while seven remain trapped after an explosion at a coal mine in northern China, state media said on Saturday.

Some 100 rescuers have been searching for the workers since the blast at the mine in Shanxi province, one of China's main coal-producing areas, on Friday morning, Xinhua news agency said.

Twenty seven bodies have since been found while efforts to find the seven others still missing were ongoing, the agency said.

Fifteen workers managed to escape by themselves after the explosion at the mine in Xiaoyi city, and nine were pulled out alive by rescuers, it said.

China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with safety standards often ignored in the quest for profits and the drive to meet sky-rocketing Chinese demand for coal.

The mine was operating with all required licences, the country's work safety administration said on its website Friday, without providing further details.

Coal is the source of about 70 percent of China's energy.

Nearly 3,800 lives were lost in Chinese coal mines last year, down 20 percent from the year before, according to official figures.

However, many independent labour groups suspect the actual death toll is much higher, saying many accidents are covered up to prevent costly shutdowns and legal action.

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