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Rescuers search for 42 miners at flooded mine
Updated: 2005-12-04 12:29

Rescuers were pumping water out of a flooded coal mine in central China as they searched for 42 workers missing following the nation's latest mining disaster, state media said Sunday.

The mine's owner allegedly went into hiding after Friday's flood at the Sigou Coal Mine in Henan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The owner did not have a safety license for the mine, Xinhua said.

There was no indication whether the 42 missing miners were alive or not. 

The same day, 16 people died in an explosion at another coal mine, in the southern province of Guizhou, the agency said.

The twin tragedies came as authorities were still shifting through the debris of a November 27 blast in China's frigid northeast that killed at least 169 workers.

More than 6,000 Chinese miners killed each year in fires, floods, explosions, cave-ins and other accidents. The government has vowed to do more to improve mine safety.

The death toll from the November 27 explosion rose to 169 on Saturday after emergency workers found three more bodies in the debris, Xinhua said. Two miners are still missing from that blast, at the Dongfeng Coal Mine in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

Many of China's mine disasters are blamed on managers who ignore safety rules or fail to install required ventilation or fire control equipment, often in collusion with local officials. The issue is further complicated by the country's soaring demand for power to drive its booming economy.

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