24 Dead in China Mine Blast

Owners disguised site as boar farm to dupe officials
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2008 7:12 PM CST
In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, workers take measures to guarantee the ventilation of the shaft after a blast happened at the Weijialing Coal Mine in Fenxi County, Linfen City, north...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Twenty-four people died and five were wounded in a blast at an illegal iron mine in China yesterday, Xinhua reports. Mine owners, who fled the scene, had masked the site as a boar farm to dupe authorities. "The owner has violated the law by illegally exploring the state-owned resources," an official said. Rescue crews unearthed miners today, including trapped survivors, but found no cause for the blast.

State media warned today that mining is now riskier after a recent spate of storms stalled work; built-up gases and shaky power lines may spark more accidents, AFP reports. China's coal mining industry is the world's deadliest, plagued by illegal digging and driven by high-priced resources, MSNBC reports.