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Death toll in Hebei mine fire rises to 57
Updated: 2004-11-22 11:30

The death toll in the five iron mines that caught fire Saturday morning in Shahe City in north China's Hebei Province has risen to 57, said an official with the leading group in charge of the rescue operation.

Rescuers are ready for an underground operation to search for the survivors at the iron mine November 21, 2004. [newsphoto]
The bodies of 49 miners killed in the fire, most of whom succumbed to suffocation, were lifted to the ground by 7:30 a.m. Monday, and the location of eight other dead miners has been identified and will be transported to the surface soon.

Miners killed in the disaster were either locals or from the underdeveloped Guizhou Province in southwest China and Shaanxi Province in northwest China.

Preliminary investigation shows that the fire broke out due to electronic cable self-ignition in one iron mine. The fire spread quickly to four other iron mines which were all connected. Heavy smog soon trapped 106 miners.

Up to now, 46 miners have been rescued alive. But three other miners remained missing. Search for the missing miners is sill going on.

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