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18 confirmed dead in Hunan colliery fire

THE death toll has climbed to 18 in yesterday's coal mine fire in central China's Hunan Province, with nine more bodies retrieved early today.

Rescue work continued Wednesday to search for survivors, as at least nine more miners were believed to be trapped at the Lisheng Coal Mine in Tanjiashan Town of Xiangtan County.

Underground cables caught fire in the mine pit at around 2 pm yesterday, while about 70 miners were working in the shaft. Forty-three of them managed to escape the shaft.

Rescuers retrieved nine bodies at a mining platform in the shaft about 160 meters deep last night.

At 8:30 am today, the emergency rescue headquarters said nine more bodies had been retrieved about 540 meters underground.

Rescuers are searching another mining platform, at least 600 meters underground today, hoping to find survivors.

Experts with the provincial work safety bureau said there were chances for some of the trapped miners to survive, after the fire was put out and the ventilation system restored yesterday.


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