January 5, 2010 / 10:16 AM / in 9 years

Colliery fire traps 27 Chinese miners: report

BEIJING (Reuters) - Twenty-seven miners were trapped after a fire at a coal mine in central China, state media said on Tuesday.

The fire occurred near Xiangtan city in Hunan province, the official Xinhua news agency said.

“Rescuers had begun searching for the miners, who could still be alive,” it said in a brief report.

Xinhua added the municipal government and Hunan provincial work safety department had launched an investigation into the cause of the accident.

China has the world’s deadliest coal-mining industry with more than 3,000 people killed in mine floods, explosions, collapses and other accidents in 2008 alone.

A gas blast at a coal pit in northeastern China in November killed at least 104.

Compared with other manual jobs, Chinese coal miners can earn relatively high wages, tempting workers and farmers into rickety and poorly ventilated shafts.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sugita Katyal

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