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Mine blast kills 56, 148 others feared dead
Updated: 2004-10-21 09:11

A coal mine gas explosion Wednesday night has left 56 people dead and another some 148 missing in central China's Henan Province, according to local sources.

The blast occurred at 22:47 Wednesday in Daping Mine of Zhengmei Group which is located in Xinmi of the province, according to local coal mine safety administration.

A senior work safety official said in Beijing Thursday morning that there is slim hope for the 148 trapped coal miners in central China's coal mine blast to be rescued alive.

Deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety Sun Huashan said that according to experiences in past coal mine disasters, the hope for those missing miners to come out alive is very weak.

Sun said that a special team led by heads of the SAWS has been sent to the site of the blast.

When the tragedy happened, there were more than 400 people at work. More than 290 people managed to escape while 148 others were trapped in the mine.

The local governments have sent rescue workers to the site right after the accident. So far, 56 people have been confirmed dead, but detailed casualty is unavailable. The rescue work is still going on.

The cause for the blast is under investigation, according to the administration.

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