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Death toll rises to 26 in NW China colliery gas blast
Updated: 2008-11-02 17:44

XI'AN -- The death toll from Wednesday's gas explosion at a colliery in northwest China's Shaanxi Province has risen to 26 after three more bodies were found on Sunday.

Rescuers found a body at around 3:40 a.m. and another two at around 9:50a.m. in a shaft at the Yaotou mine, Chengcheng County. Rescuers were still searching for the last three trapped underground, a county government official said.

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"It was more than 80 hours after the accident. The concentration of poisonous gas is high and their chances of survival are slim," he said.

Twenty-one of the 26 victims had been identified, and most were Chengcheng locals and residents from Shandong and Henan provinces, he said.

The tragedy occurred in the state-owned mine on at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Only seven of the 36 workers in the pit managed to escape.

The mine, with a complete set of valid licenses, has an annual output capacity of 330,000 tons.