Coal mine fire kills 17 in NE China

Updated: 2008-03-05 19:52

CHANGCHUN -- A fire in a coal mine in northeast China's Liaoning Province killed 17 people on Wednesday morning, the provincial coal industry bureau said.

Another 13 miners survived the blaze that broke out at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the Jin'an Coal Mine at Dongliao County of Liaoyuan City, said Yin Yuke, a bureau spokesman.

Altogether, 30 miners were working in the tunnel about 85 meter underground. Rescuers recovered the bodies of the dead at 1:50 p.m. on Wednesday.

"The miners all suffocated," said the official, adding their families had arrived at the scene to deal with the aftermath.

Experts from Yin's bureau and the provincial work safety supervision administration confirmed the fire was caused by the spontaneous combustion of coal. Part of the tunnel later collapsed which cut off the escape route for the trapped miners.

The county-run mine, about 130 kilometers from Changchun, the Liaoning provincial capital, is a legal mining enterprise with all the required official documents, Yin said.

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