Death toll rises to 37 in China mine blast

Associated Press Modified: August 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm •  Published: August 30, 2012
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BEIJING (AP) — The death toll in China's worst mine accident in nearly three years has risen to 37 as high temperatures and dangerous carbon monoxide levels hampered rescue work Friday for 10 others still trapped.

Police detained the owners of the Xiaojiawan coal mine following Wednesday evening's blast in coal-rich Panzhihua city in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

There were 154 miners working at the mine when the explosion occurred, and 107 survivors have been pulled to the surface, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a statement.

It is China's deadliest mine accident since 108 were killed in an explosion in a mine in Heilongjiang province in November 2009.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the rescue work was dangerous because of high temperatures in the mine and dense carbon monoxide that meant only paramedics wearing masks were able to enter the shaft.

Xinhua quoted one miner, Xu Changyong, as saying he heard the explosion and then ash started coming out of his air compressor before he scrambled out of the mine.

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