World News

Three China mine accidents kill 42, trap 18

BEIJING (Reuters) - Three Chinese coal mine accidents in just four days killed at least 42 people, trapped 18, and left three missing, media reported on Monday.

China’s mining industry remains the world’s deadliest amid huge demand from a booming economy, despite a government drive to close thousands of small and unsafe mines. Accidents are reported on an almost daily basis.

Flood waters trapped 24 in a coal pit in central Henan province on Sunday, the official Xinhua news agency said. By Monday, only six had been rescued.

The death toll from a gas blast at a coal mine in southwest Sichuan on Friday had risen to 15, with three missing, according to a local report carried by the China News Service ( ).

The accident happened just a day after an explosion at a colliery in northeastern Liaoning killed 27.

State media reported on Sunday that coal mine deaths dropped by almost a quarter in the first eight months of 2008, but did not mention the number of people killed.

A total of 3,786 coal miners died in gas blasts, flooding and other accidents last year, down 20 percent from 2006.

Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie