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65 miners killed in Xinjiang gas explosion
By Qin Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-12 05:44

Sixty-five workers were killed in a coal mine gas explosion early yesterday morning in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Rescuers wait at the pit entrance before going down to rescue victims after the blast in the Shenlong Coal Mine in Fukang, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on July 12, 2005. [newsphoto]

By yesterday evening, hopes were fading for the 18 workers still missing at the Shenlong Coal Mine, in Fukang, 62 kilometres northeast of the regional capital Urumqi, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Four teams of rescuers were searching for the missing, the report said.

"At 8 am, rescuers entered the mine to find the missing miners. There are 20 rescuers in the shaft right now, but the situation is unclear. We don't know what the situation is like down there," a man surnamed Hu at the mine's office told AFP.

The blast ocurred at around 2:30 am, when 87 workers were working in the mine, four of them escaped.

Xinjiang coal mine safety authorities received reports of the accident about an hour later and immediately sent rescuers to the site.

By noon, the mines ventilator had been repaired and began working again, said the Xinhua report.
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