Nineteen people have been confirmed dead and seven others are still missing after a coal mine gas explosion in north China's Shanxi Province on Wednesday, local authorities said.
The bodies of the dead have been recovered and rescuers, led by deputy Shanxi provincial governor Jin Shanzhong, are struggling to search for the missing people at the Yujialing Coal Mine located at the Yipingyuan Township, Yaodu District of Linfen City, about 300 km southwest of Taiyuan, the provincial capital.
The gas explosion occurred at around 11:30 AM Wednesday when 106 miners were working underground, and 80 managed to escape, including one who was injured severely and is being treated, rescuers said.
The coal mine reports an annual output capacity of 150,000 tons but its licence for production had expired before the accident happened, according to local coal mine safety authorities.
This is the second coal mine gas explosion in Shanxi, a major coal producing province, in 10 days. Twenty-one miners were killed in another gas blast at Miaojiang Coal Mine in Jincheng City on March 18.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2007)