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Rescue Continues Despite Slim Chance for Trapped Miners
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Rescue operations at a coal mine in north China's Shanxi Province continued on Tuesday despite 28 trapped mines have slim chance to survive three days after a fatal gas explosion.

The death toll from the explosion at the Jiaojiazhai Coal Mine rose to 19 Tuesday after two more bodies were recovered, according to rescuers.

Director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) Li Yizhong, who is organizing rescue operations at the mine, said Tuesday that the trapped miners, live or dead, must be found despite they have slim chance to survive.

The accident occurred at 11:45 AM on Sunday in the Jiaojiazhai Coal Mine of Xuangang Company under Datong Coal Mine Group in Xinzhou, a central-north city of Shanxi Province.

Rescue efforts have been hindered by cave-ins and flooding caused by the gas blast. Rescuers are trying to dig a new tunnel to reach the trapped miners and have installed pumps to pump out flood water, according to officials from the rescue headquarters.

The headquarters expected the concentration of gas in the mine to be at a normal level at 2 AM Wednesday, enabling rescuers to go further in tunnels to search the trapped.

(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)

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