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Coal mine blast leaves 140 dead, 11 missing
Updated: 2005-11-29 15:48

A weekend coal mine explosion in northeast China has killed 140 miners and left another 11 missing, state-run television reported Tuesday.

More than 200 miners were inside the mine in Heilongjiang Province when the explosion happened Sunday evening, according to CCTV. Seventy-two of the miners are known to have survived the blast, the report said.

The mine is owned by the Qitaihe Branch of the Dragon Coal Group, Xinhua said

The cause of the blast was under investigation.

State television showed ambulances rushing to the scene and rescuers escorting a survivor from the mineshaft, his face and clothes covered in soot.

The explosion knocked out all ventilation systems, Xinhua said, but they were working again on Monday.

Beijing has tried to crack down on unsafe conditions nationwide, but authorities say local officials leave many questionable mines open in order to keep unemployment low.

Efforts to shut down dangerous mines have been complicated by the country's soaring demands for power to drive its booming economy.

Last week, water was shut down for more five days in the Heilongjiang's capital, Harbin after a November 13 explosion at a chemical plant spewed toxins into the river.

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