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23 killed in China colliery blast

At least 23 miners were killed and 53 others sickened in a colliery gas blast in north China's Shanxi Province.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 12:57 IST

At least 23 miners were killed and 53 others sickened in a colliery gas blast in north China's Shanxi Province.

Altogether 697 miners were working down the pit when the blast went off at around 7 pm on Wednesday at Sihe Coal Mine under the state-owned Jincheng Mining Group, an official with the provincial coal mine safety supervision bureau said.

The official said search and rescue work had ended at the site on Thursday and the sickened miners had been hospitalised. Most of them suffered no fatal injury except for one miner who was seriously poisoned by carbon monoxide, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bureau plans to set up an investigation team to see into the accident, he said.

A preliminary investigation shows the explosion occurred at an airtight area in the pit.

Sihe Coal Mine, one of the largest collieries in the coal-rich Shanxi Province, currently produces 10.8 million tonnes of coal annually.

The accident is the latest disasters to strike China's mines, which are considered the most dangerous in the world.

China relies on coal for two-thirds of its energy needs. The country is also the world's largest coal producer. The nation has witnessed a series of major coal mine accidents last year as the nation faced an acute power shortage.

Officials often blame the growing number of accidents to lax safety standards in illegally run mines, especially in the far-flung countryside.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 10:08 IST