At least 53 Chinese miners dead in coal mine explosions

Saturday, November 25th 2006, 10:21 pm
By: News On 6

BEIJING (AP) Explosions in two Chinese coal mines have left at least 53 workers dead and six missing, the official Xinhua News Agency and safety officials said Sunday.

The first blast occurred Saturday in the Yuanhua Coal Mine in Jixi, a city in northeast Heilongjiang province, when 31 miners were working, Xinhua said. By Sunday, the remains of 21 miners had been found, while six more were still missing, Xinhua said. Four managed to escape.

In the southwestern province of Yunnan, at least 32 miners were killed when a gas explosion tore through a shaft in Fuyuan county on Saturday, Xinhua said. Another 28 miners were injured in the blast, it said.

A woman who answered the telephone at the State Administration of Work Safety confirmed that 32 miners had died and said ``the rescue work is continuing.'' She refused to give her name or any other details.

The cause of both explosions was under investigation, Xinhua said.

China's mines are the world's most dangerous, with thousands of workers killed each year in explosions, fires and floods, many caused by inattention to safety regulations and lack of proper equipment.