Eleven coal miners were killed in a gas explosion in northwest China's Shaanxi province, state media reported February 17. Twenty-six miners were working in the Wangwenzhuang mine in Luliang district when the explosion occurred midday Sunday, the China News Service said. Twelve managed to escape from the mine and another three were rescued later, the report said. Rescuers had pulled ten bodies from the rubble Monday, and an eleventh had been found but not yet recovered. The cause of the explosion was being investigated.

According to Beijing's work safety bureau, 4,500 miners died in accidents last year.

In contrast, the Mine Safety and Health Administration reported that 67 miners died in U.S. accidents in 2002 - an all-time low.