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Mine officials fired after gas blast

THREE coal mine officials were removed from their posts in the wake of a gas blast that killed 74 miners in north China's Shanxi Province on Sunday, a source from the State Administration of Work Safety said yesterday.

The officials were reported to be the chief of state-owned Tunlan Coal Mine, Yin Gencheng, the engineer-in-chief and a deputy chief in charge of work safety.

The accident occurred at around 2:20am on Sunday, while 436 miners were working underground at the Tunlan Coal Mine of the Shanxi Coking Coal Group in Gujiao City, about 50 kilometers from Taiyuan, the provincial capital.

The blast also injured 114 miners, 26 seriously. Most of the injured showed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to rescuers.

The Shanxi Provincial Coal Industry Social Security Bureau has set aside 28.06 million yuan (US$4.1 million) in a fund for occupational injury insurance payouts for the blast victims, a bureau official said yesterday.

The children of miners killed in the blast will receive payments until they are 18. They will get an additional 3,000 to 5,000 yuan a year for college expenses.

The families of the dead will each receive at least 200,000 yuan in compensation, rescue headquarters officials said.


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