Officials in northwest China's Shaanxi Province have confirmed 15 deaths in the coal mine blast that took place there Tuesday afternoon.
The explosion occurred at 4:50 PM in the state-owned No. 1 coal mine of the Huangling Mining Co. as an estimated 85 miners were working under ground. Reports indicate that 65 miners were rescued, including five injured who are now hospitalized. Seven miners remain missing.
The 15 dead include two rescue workers, according to the provincial bureau responsible for overseeing safe mining operations.
A task force has been set up to search for the missing miners and to deal with the aftermath of the accident.
The Huangling Mining's No. 1 coal mine has an annual production capacity of 6 million tons. It went into operation in 2001.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2004)