November 10, 2011 / 8:09 AM / in 6 years

Chinese mine disaster kills 19, dozens trapped

BEIJING (Reuters) - A gas leak at a colliery in southwestern China has killed 19 miners and trapped dozens underground, state media said on Thursday, in the latest disaster to hit the accident-prone industry.

The accident happened at a coal mine in Qujing in Yunnan province, and initially trapped at least 43 people, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Rescue work was going on to try and save those who may be left alive, Xinhua said.

China’s mines are the deadliest in the world, because of lax safety standards and a rush to feed demand from a robust economy.

In 2010, 2,433 people were killed in coal mine accidents in China, although this was an improvement on the toll of 2,631 the previous year.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel

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