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Seven Miners Die for Gas Leak

Seven miners died in a coal mine gas leak Friday in Sichuan Province, southwest China, local officials said Saturday.

More than 40 miners were working underground when the accident occurred at around 1:00 p.m. Friday at Fuyuan coal mine in Langya Town of Quxian County, said an official with the county government without giving his name.

Two miners were first suffocated to death in an area close to a tunnel for transportation of products and facilities, he said.

As the mine management failed to take emergency measures to keep other miners from the dangerous area, two others were killed after entering the area by mistake.

Improper rescue efforts by the management caused another three deaths later in the afternoon. All the remaining miners were evacuated in time.

The victims are all local villagers. The remains of the dead had been carried out of the mine and their families had arrived at the site by press time.

Local police has detained the owner of the mine, Li Youquan, and its manager, Zhou Changguo.

Fuyuan mine produces 60,000 tons of coal a year. It had been a state-owned mine for decades before Li Youquan, a private business owner, bought it out in 2000.

Officials from the Sichuan provincial administration for coal mine safety are at the site to help investigate the case.

(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2004)

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