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Death toll from mine explosions swells by 27
( 2003-08-20 10:48) (China Daily)

A third fatal gas explosion in just one week toppled a small colliery and killed 27 miners working underground in North China's coal-rich Shanxi Province on Monday.

An official with the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety (SACMS) said the blast occurred at around 11:30 am on Monday at a village-run mine at Zuoquan County in Shanxi's city of Jinzhong.

Governor of Shanxi Liu Zhenhua, who rushed to the site after the accident, yesterday urged all the coal mines in the province to suspend production for safety inspections during the coming week.

Over the past seven days colliery explosions in the province have claimed at least 92 lives in three accidents.

Last Thursday a gas explosion killed all 28 miners in a pit in Yangquan. Three days earlier an explosion in Datong killed 37 people and trapped six workers, SACMS officials said.

After being informed of the accident in Jinzhong, SACMS held an emergency meeting yesterday to cope with the aftermath issues.

No efforts should be spared in searching for missing workers and precautions should be taken to ensure the rescue teams are secure from poisonous gases, SACMS said.

According to investigations of the latest tragedy, the coal mine authorities randomly cut off the power transmission without suspending the coal-cutting operation in the pit, and the explosion occurred shortly after electricity was restored.

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