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17 Chinese trapped in 2 coal mine accidents

Associated Press Published: September 23, 2012
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BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media say two coal mine accidents have trapped 17 people underground.

The official Xinhua News Agency says a fire broke out Sunday in a mine in northeast Heilongjiang province, trapping 11. Two other people working in the mine were lifted out.

Xinhua says the mine's operating license had expired three weeks earlier and the county government is blaming illegal production for the accident.

Another mine in the same province was flooded on Saturday, trapping six miners.

Rescue efforts are under way.

China has the world's deadliest coal mining industry. Safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years, but safety rules are often ignored and accidents are still common.