Dozens killed in China mine blasts

An electrical fire inside a coal shaft in northern China left 28 miners dead, a government official said today.

An official with the State Administration of Work Safety said the accident, triggered when an electrical cable caught fire, happened yesterday evening at the privately owned Xiaonangou coal mine in Sangshuping town in Shaanxi Province.

All 28 miners working in the shaft were killed when the underground cable caught fire, he said.

The official Xinhua News Agency said rescuers had retrieved the bodies of five miners by this morning and an investigation was under way.

Although safety conditions improved in recent years, China’s mining industry is by far the world’s deadliest, with accidents and blasts killing more than 2,600 coal miners last year.

In a separate accident, eight other coal miners died when a blaze engulfed a mine in central Henan province yesterday morning, Xinhua reported.

The incident at a mine operated by the Zhengzhou Coal Industry Group was also being investigated.

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