Death toll rises to 17 in China coal mine accident

Updated: 2007-04-27 15:31

Workers recovered the remaining eight bodies from a north China coal mine after a high-pressure gas explosion a week ago, bringing the death toll to 17, state media reported Friday.

The explosion happened on April 19 in a state-owned mine in Handan, Hebei province, while 313 people were working underground, the official Xinhua News Agency said, adding 296 people managed to escape.

Survivors described coal lumps flying into the shaft like a "black flood," Xinhua said. It said drills may have struck a high-pressure gas pocket.

China's coal mines are the world's deadliest, with numerous fires, floods and other disasters every year despite repeated government promises to improve safety.

The government says 4,750 people died in coal mine accidents last year _ an average of 13 a day.

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