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Deaths in China mine blaze
At least 16 miners killed in fire blamed on underground electrical cable.
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2010 10:01 GMT
 

At least 16 miners have been killed after fire engulfed a gold mine in the east of China, state media said.

Another 39 workers remained in hospital on Saturday after more than 300 people were lifted from the the Lingnan Gold Mine in Shandong province.

Most of the victims died of toxic smoke inhalation underground or in hospital after the accident, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Officials said initial findings indicated the fire, which broke out on Friday afternoon, was started by an underground electrical cable.

Police have taken the director of the mine in for questioning, Xinhua reported.

Accidents in mines are common in China, where there are poor safety regulations and inefficiencies.

Earlier this week 21 people were killed in two coal mine accidents in the southwest and centre of the country.

About 2,600 miners were killed nationwide last year, official statistics said.

The government has tried to improve safety but efforts have been hampered by the widespread flouting of rules in the rush to extract natural resources to feed China's booming economy.

Source:
Agencies
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