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3 Officials Sacked After Fatal Colliery Gas Blast in Shanxi
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Three government officials were dismissed from their posts Sunday for lax supervision which has been blamed for the deadly colliery gas blast that killed 13 miners in north China's Shanxi Province.

The explosion happened at about 2:00 PM Friday in Niuxinhui Coal Mine in Huabeitun town, Ningwu county when 30 miners were working underground, said Tan Shengwang, head of the county work safety bureau.

The blast killed 11 people on the spot and injured another 11. Eight miners managed to escape the accident scene. Two of the wounded died later on the way to hospital, Tan added.

Lv Yuedong, the town Party chief, Wu Qiang, the town head, and Wu Wansuo, chief of the town people's political consultative conference, were sacked for lax supervision of coal mine safety.

Local officials told Xinhua Saturday evening that mine's manager Dang Liangrong has been detained and the mine's bank accounts frozen.

The nine injured were in stable condition at No. 322 hospital in Datong city, said doctors.

The coal mine is a licensed one, which is undertaking an expansion project approved by the provincial coal industry authorities.

An investigation team has been set up to find out the cause of the blast.

Coal mines in China have an abominable safety record. Accidents such as flooding, cave-ins and gas explosions occur frequently, due to poor safety conditions and lax supervision by local governments.

There were 2,945 coal mine accidents in 2006, in which 4,746 people died - a drop of 20 percent from the previous year but nevertheless equivalent to 13 miner deaths per day, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2007)

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