Chinese Mine Blast Kills 20, Traps 17

Gas-filled mine fraught with danger for rescuers
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2010 6:49 AM CDT
Rescuers are ready to go underground after an explosion at the state-run Pingyu Coal & Electric mine in Yuzhou city, Henan Province, on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010.   (Zhu Xiang)
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(Newser) – It's a good time to not be a miner: Mere days after Chile pulled off its rescue, Chinese officials are fighting perilous conditions to rescue 17 miners trapped underground after an explosion in a coal mine that killed at least 20. Gas levels nearing 40% inside the mine and the risk of falling coal are complicating efforts, reports the AP, which notes that methane is a common cause of mine explosions and coal dust is explosive.

The blast today occurred as workers worked to relieve gas buildup by drilling a hole. Beijing, which had allowed state-run media to take part in the extraordinary coverage in Chile, will now likely to face international scrutiny in its rescue efforts. China's mining industry has the world's worst safety record, with some 2,600 killed in accidents last year alone.

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