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Mine Gas Blast Kills 17 and Traps 30 in Shanxi
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In a gas explosion Sunday at a coal mine in north China's Shanxi Province 17 miners have been confirmed dead and a further 30 trapped.

The accident occurred at 11 AM in the Jiaojiazhai Coalmine of the Xuangang Company under Datong Coalmine Group in Xinzhou, a central-north city of Shanxi Province, said officials with the provincial administration of coal mines.

Initial investigations suggest that gas accumulated and exploded after exhaust fans stopped because of a power failure.

Li Yanjun, head of the rescue team of Datong Coalmine Group, said his team went into the mine at 2 PM, searched all the tunnels they could reach and recovered 17 bodies.

However, the rescuers were still 400-500 meters away from the explosion site as in the aftermath the mine had caved-in.

Senior work safety officials with the Shanxi provincial government are at the site to guide rescue work.

The rescuers are still searching for trapped miners who are all employed by Datong Coalmine Group, an official said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2006)

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