Twenty confirmed dead in China colliery gas blast

Updated: 2007-03-22 13:31

JINCHENG, Shanxi -- The bodies of 20 miners have been recovered after a gas explosion in a coal mine in north China's Shanxi Province, rescuers confirmed on Thursday morning.

The blast occurred at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Miaojiang Coal Mine, in Chengqu District of Jincheng City, Shanxi Province, which is believed to have trapped 21 miners underground. One of the miners remains missing.

Rescue work was delayed 44 hours because the mine owner allegedly attempted to cover up the accident.

The provincial bureau of work safety started investigating the accident on Tuesday and 11 people have been arrested for covering up the explosion, said sources with rescue headquarters.

Two Communist party officials in the village where the coal mine is located have been dismissed, said the district authorities without identifying them.

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