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Death Toll of 47 in Shanxi Mine Explosion
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All 47 miners trapped in a colliery following a gas explosion in north China's Shanxi Province since November 5 were confirmed dead after rescuers discovered one last body early Thursday.

Rescuers wrapped up an 11-day search-and-rescue operation Thursday morning in the Jiaojiazhai Colliery in Xinzhou, a city in the central northern part of the coal-rich province, said the emergency rescue headquarters.

The rescue operation had been lengthy and difficult because of high toxic gas density and serious cave-ins following the gas explosion at 11:45 AM on November 5.

Altogether 393 miners were working in the pit when the blast occurred with 346 escaping and 47 being trapped. Families of the dead miners will be compensated 200,000 yuan (US$25,000) each.

Surging demand for winter coal has spurred production but also caused a string of accidents in China. In another fatal accident last Sunday 34 miners were killed when explosives illegally stored in a shaft in Lingshi County caught fire.

(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2006)

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