30 killed in China coal mine blast

Thirty miners were killed when colliery gas burst in Tonghua Coal Mine in Qijiang County in Chongqing Municipality yesterday, when 131 miners were working underground.

101 miners were rescued, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Of the rescued, 59 miners were injured, including four in serious condition, it said.

"The accident is a major safety accident caused by an illegal practice which violated the mining rules," said Luo Lin, chief of the State Administration of Work Safety said.

Luo said the Cabinet will set up a special investigation team to probe the coal mine explosion.

Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said that an excessive amount of explosives directly triggered the accident.

"The mine's managers didn't evacuate workers in time," said Zhao. Police have detained three people including the coal mine's owner, chief engineer and project manager in connection with the accident.

China's coal mines are considered the world's most dangerous. Official figures showed that over 3,200 miners died last year but the actual figures are much more than that as many such accidents are covered up.

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