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23 killed in Heilongjiang coal mine blast, 90 still trapped

AT least 23 miners have been killed in a coal mine blast in Heilongjiang Province this morning, while 90 other miners were still missing.

The rescue headquarters said that gas outburst caused the explosion in the Xinxing Coal Mine in Hegang City. The mine is owned by the state-owned Heilongjiang Longmei Mining Holding Group.

The company has updated the number of miners who escaped the accident to 415 from the previously reported 389.

It said that 528 miners were working under the mine, when the explosion occurred at around 2:30am today.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have made instructions on the rescue work. Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang is on way to the site.

The mine is located over 400 kilometers east of the provincial capital of Harbin. Xinhua reporters are on the way to the accident site.

The Hegang subsidiary of Longmei is a mining company with an annual coal output of 12 million tons. Its mining area has a verified coal reserve of 3 billion tons.


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