Mine Blast Kills 70+ in China

26 more trapped, feared dead in latest accident
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2007 11:54 AM CST
In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, a worker inspects the Xinjian coal mine Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007 after a coal and gas eruption in Fengcheng in east China's Jiangxi Province. Today another...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A gas explosion in a Chinese coal mine killed at least 70 today and trapped 26 more, the New York Times reports, one of the year’s worst accidents in an industry that sees more than 4,000 die each year. Authorities believe miners triggered the explosion while illegally tapping an unauthorized seam. Police have arrested mine officials and frozen their bank accounts.

Officials at the mine in the city of Linfen may have made the situation worse, the rescue team believes, by waiting to report the incident, trying to first mount their own rescue effort. China has tried to tighten safety regulations, but still sees near-weekly accidents. China produces twice as much coal as any other nation.