Mine explosion in northeastern China kills at least 42, dozens more trapped

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

An explosion at a gas mine in northeastern China has killed at least 42 people today, state media reported. 66 more miners are feared to have been trapped as well. Another 400 were able to escape safely.

The news agency Xinhua said that 528 workers were in the mine, located in the Heilongjiang province, when the explosion occurred at about 02.30 local time (18.30 UTC).

The blast was strong enough to shake buildings nearby, and some survivors said they were knocked unconscious. "I passed out for a while. I found I was shrouded by heavy smoke, when I regained consciousness. I groped my way out in the dark," said a 27 year-old electrician, Wang Xingang, to Xinhua.

Rescue operations are still ongoing for those trapped in the mine. State television said that 156 rescuers were at the scene searching for more survivors.