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Coal Mine, Oil Tank Blasts in NW China Kill 24
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Rescuers have found the bodies of all the 14 miners trapped in early Saturday morning's coal mine blast in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said local authorities.


Six other people working at the entrance to the coal mine received burns to their hands and faces, the coal mine deputy head said.


Five of them are being treated at the local hospital affiliated to Xinjiang Medical University, but their lives are not in danger, a hospital spokesman told Xinhua. The other person suffered only minor injuries and was not hospitalized.


The accident happened at about 2:35 AM at the coal mine located at Dianchanggou Township, Miquan City, Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Changji, said Huang Guoqiang, deputy director of the Coal Mine Safety Division of the Work Safety Administration under the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.


Initially rescuers were unable to enter the mine as the temperature following the explosion was close to 1,000 degrees Celsius.


They finally managed to enter the mine via an emergency tunnel at about 10 AM.


The cause of the blast was not immediately known.


More than 60 rescuers, 34 medical staff from two local hospitals and six ambulances participated in the rescue operation.


The state-run coal mine, which lies more than 30 km east of the regional capital of Urumqi, belongs to Xingyaneng Construction and Chemical Industrial Company owned by the corps. It was built in 1958 and has an annual output capacity of 120,000 tons.


The coal mine was contracted out in March 2000 and employs 113 staff.


Also in Xinjiang, at least 10 people were killed in an oil tank blast Saturday evening. 


The death toll may rise as rescuers are still counting and confirming the exact casualties, but they have difficulties because of the poor illumination at the accident site.


The blast happened at around 7:20 PM when workers were conducting antiseptic treatment to the tank, under construction in Dushanzi, a district of the city of Karamay, which is about 260 kilometers away from Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, said the local government source.


The tank belongs to Dushanzi petrochemical company, a branch of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). It was built to store crude oil.


(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2006)





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