20 killed in illegal coal mine blast

Updated: 2008-01-21 16:08

TAIYUAN - A total of 20 people were killed following a blast in an illegal coal mine in North China's Shanxi Province late Sunday, local authorities said on Monday.

The blast occurred at around 9 pm Sunday in Weijialing Coal Mine in Fenxi County, Linfen City. The rescue operation has been concluded.

According to Shanxi Work Safety Administration, the mine was opened in 2004 but has been closed for failing to meet safety requirements. Illegal miners took the opportunity afforded by heavy snow cutting the area off to sneak into the mine at about 7 pm on Sunday.

It was not immediately known how many people were in the mine as the illegal mine's foreman was killed in the blast. Police are trying to catch the organizers of the illegal mining activities.

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