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Mine Blast Update: 150 Dead, 1 Missing
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As at 9:00 AM Wednesday, the death toll from the coalmine blast in northeast China was confirmed at 150. 
Rescuers are still searching for one miner believed to trapped underground.
According to rescuers, the dead include 148 miners and two female workers who were found dead in the ground generator room on Tuesday afternoon.
221 miners were working underground when the explosion occurred at 9:40 PM Sunday at the Dongfeng Coal Mine run by the Qitaihe branch of the Longmei Mining (Group) Co. Ltd. in Heilongjiang Province.
72 miners were rescued, 47 of whom are suffering from gas poisoning, according to Shi Guicheng, deputy president of the General Hospital of the Qimei Group.
"Many of the injured are recovering after treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber," said Shi, who added some miners were also suffering from post-traumatic stress.
Only one miner suffered head injuries and he was also treated for gas poisoning, Shi said.
Shi said four more medical specialists are scheduled to join the three medical experts at the hospital who are treating the injured miners.
Body identification and compensation work started on Tuesday.
A spokesman of the Longmei Mining (Group) Co., Ltd. said the relatives of every dead miner will receive 200,000 to 220,000 yuan (US$24,660-27,100) in compensation.
As at 9:00 PM Tuesday, the relatives of more than 20 dead miners signed the compensation agreement.
Li Yizhong, head of the National Bureau of Production Safety Supervision Administration, and major senior officials of the province are organizing the rescue operation at the accident site.
The Heilongjiang provincial government held an emergency videophone conference on Monday afternoon ordering safety checks on all mines in the province.
Mines which do not meet production safety criteria will be immediately closed down.

(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2005)


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