At least 25 miners have died in a fire at a colliery in Central China and three others remain trapped.
The accident occurred in Xiangtan county in Hunan province when underground cables caught fire. Although 43 miners escaped, rescuers said conditions were severe.
"Rescue work was extremely difficult, with too much toxic gas in the shaft after the fire," Xinhua quoted Wang Shuhe, deputy head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, as saying.
The report added that the coal mine was privately-run and had 180 employees. It was being upgraded to double annual output.
(China Daily 01/07/2010 page1)