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105 confirmed dead in China coal mine blast (12/10)

December 10, 2007
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An investigation confirmed on Sunday that 105 people died in the coal mine gas blast in north China's Shanxi Province, after rescue work was concluded, the official Xinhua News Agency reports.

The gas explosion occurred at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday at Xinyao Coal Mine, a village-run coal firm, while 128 miners were working in the shaft, far more than the maximum of 60 miners for one shift as approved by Shanxi coal mine authorities, according to Xinhua.

Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, said the colliery managers delayed reporting the accident to local authorities while sending another 37 workers down to the shaft for rescue operations.

In addition, the mine owner and other chief executives escaped after the accident, causing great difficulties for rescue operation, Xinhua reported.

Of the 60 rescued miners, 18 were injured, including four in serious condition, Li said.

Li also accused local work safety and coal mine authorities for inadequate supervision and management. Three local work teams inspected the mine last month, but none of them had discovered hidden dangers that caused the fatal accident.

Police have so far detained 35 people, who are alleged to be relevant to or responsible for the fatal gas explosion. Among those detained were the mine's manager and the mine's legal representative. The mine's bank accounts have been frozen.

In August, 181 Chinese miners died when heavy rains flooded two mines in eastern Shandong Province.

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