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15 bodies found, 18 missing in coal mine blast
Updated: 2004-05-19 16:41

One miner survived while 15 bodies were found and 18 others were still missing in the coal mine gas blast that occurred Tuesday in north China's Shanxi Province by Wednesday morning.

Rescuers are prepared to entre the coal mine hit by gas blast in north China's Shanxi Province, late Tuesday night, May 18, 2004. [Xinhua]

The local mine at Jiaokou County of Luliang City was hit by a gas blast at around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, leaving 34 people missing.

According to Wen Caizhu, head of the municipal coal mine rescue team, the mine was seriously destroyed and the gas density was rather thick. The trapped miners were distributed at dozens of spots, increasing the difficulty of the rescue efforts.

The mine, with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons, is village-owned but contracted to individuals to run. It was put into operation without getting the check and acceptance of the supervisory departments.

The manager of the mine, who was not on the spot when the accident occurred, is held in custody by local police.

Among all the 34 miners trapped in the accident, 28 are from southwest China's Sichuan Province, the other six are locals.

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