15 die in China coal mine blast

The explosion happened at about 2.40 am (local time) at the Liugou coal mine near Linfen city in the northern province of Shanxi, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing an official at the local coal mine safety bureau.

Xinhua said 15 people were killed in the blast which occurred inside a mine dormitory, and not the gunpowder room as previously reported.

At least 20 others were injured in the early morning explosion, it said.Local authorities have launched rescue operations to try to reach any workers who may be trapped inside the room, an official from the Shanxi work safety bureau told AFP.

It is not known how many miners were inside at the time of the blast, the official said, adding that an investigation into the cause of the accident was under way.AFP's calls to the coal mine's owners Yangquan Coal Industry (Group) Co Ltd went unanswered.

But a senior official at Yangquan Coal Industry told Xinhua that the number of dead and injured could rise further.On Wednesday, 13 people were killed by a powerful chemical pipeline explosion that rocked a city in eastern China.

More than 300 others were injured in the blast, which occurred on the grounds of an abandoned plastics factory in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, as workers were demolishing the facility.

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