Toll Hits 74 in China Mine Explosion

114 hospitalized, 65 still trapped after northern blast
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 22, 2009 8:04 AM CST
A policeman tries to stop photos being taken outside the Tunlan Coal Mine in Gujiao, in China's Shanxi province, today.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – The death toll from a Chinese mine explosion early this morning has hit 74, with 114 hospitalized, CNN reports. Six are in critical condition, while 65 miners remained trapped with rescue efforts underway, Xinhua notes. When the blast occurred, miners felt choked, said one from his hospital bed. They weren't told to evacuate for more than an hour after the blast, he said.

“At that time power supply underground was cut off and we had to walk,” he noted. He fainted near the exit after 40 minutes of walking. Some 40 ambulances and 80 rescuers have been deployed to the mine, which was run by China’s top coking coal producer, the state news agency says.