Explosion kills 42 miners in northern China; 27 missing

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Explosion kills 42 miners in northern China; 27 missing

Forty-two miners are confirmed dead and 27 are missing, after an explosion at the Xishui Mine in Shuozhou, a city in China's Shanxi province.

Six rescue teams are working at the site to rescue the missing personnel, according to Liu Jiwen, an onsite rescue consultant. Two miners were rescued earlier in the day.

Xishui Mine is licensed to produce 150,000 tons of coal per year. But the mine was ordered closed in 2004 for safety violations.

"In defiance of the order, however, mine owners have restarted production this year," stated a province-level official.

Police have arrested the owners of the Xishui mine.

Zhang Baoshun, the governor of Shanxi province, is on the scene to oversee the rescue work and an investigation of the accident.

Twenty-two other miners were working at the nearby Kangjiayao mine at the time of the accident, although it is unclear if any of those miners were affected.

Thousands of miners die in mining accidents each year in China. Today's accident comes just one day after 19 coal miners were killed in a mining accident in the Sulongsi mine in Chongqing, and one month after the largest accident in recent history killed 214 miners, in Fuxin, Liaoning Province.

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