CHINA-COAL/ACCIDENT

SEPTEMBER 21 2008 08:31h

China Coal Mine Gas `Outburst` Kills 31 - Xinhua

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Rescue efforts were underway at the privately owned mine southwest of Dengfeng City.

An "outburst" of gas at a coal mine in central China's Henan Province early on Sunday killed at least 31 people and a further nine were still missing, the Xinhua news agency said, citing local officials.

Rescue efforts were underway at the privately owned mine southwest of Dengfeng City which had 108 miners underground at the time of the accident, 68 of whom were able to escape, Xinhua said.

The accident occurred one day after Xinhua reported that five coal miners died and more than 25 were missing after an accident in the northeast of the country.

Earlier this month, three Chinese coal mine accidents within four days killed at least 42 people.