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World Briefing / China

Toll in coal mine blast rises to 74

February 23, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

The death toll from a gas explosion at a coal mine in northern China rose to 74, as survivors described how they fled through the tunnels.

"I felt a big gust of wind that blew me over," a miner with tubes in his nose told state broadcaster CCTV from his hospital bed.

"I got up and started running. . . . After that I don't know what happened," he said.

The official New China News Agency said no miners remained trapped. It said 114 were hospitalized and 436 had been in the Tunlan Coal Mine in Gujiao city when the blast occurred.

The blast at the mine, which had for years boasted an exemplary safety record, highlighted the perilous conditions that make China's mining industry the deadliest in the world.

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