44 miners dead, others trapped in China mine blast

February 21, 2009 7:40:10 PM PST
A state news agency says the death toll in a northern Chinese coal mine blast has jumped to 44, up from the previous tally of 11 deaths. Xinhua News Agency said Sunday's pre-dawn gas explosion ripped through a coal mine belonging to the Shanxi Jiaomei Group in Gujiao city near Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province.

Xinhua said the death toll had climbed to 44 by 11 a.m. local time, according to rescue workers.

Earlier reports said nearly 100 miners were trapped underground by the blast.

China's mining industry is the world's deadliest. In 2008, coal mine accidents claimed about 3,200 lives in China.

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