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.