China Coal Mine Blast Kills At Least 17

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CHINA COAL MINE BLAST
In this picture taken on October 4, 2011, rescue teams cover the bodies of the miners killed at the Anping Coal Mine in Libo, southwest China's Guizhou province. | Getty

BEIJING -- The death toll from a coal mine explosion in southwestern China has risen to 17.

The official Xinhua News Agency says 28 miners were in the shaft when the blast occurred Tuesday in Guizhou province. Eleven were rescued and being treated in a hospital.

Initial reports said 13 miners had died, but three rescued workers later died in a hospital and another body was recovered from the shafts Wednesday morning, bringing the toll to 17.

Xinhua did not give a cause for the blast.

China's coal mines are the most dangerous in the world, although the industry's safety record has improved in recent years as smaller, illegal mines have been closed. Annual fatalities are now about one-third of the high of nearly 7,000 in 2002.

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