Mine blast kills 15 in north China

Firefighters conduct rescue work at the site following a gas explosion at a coal mine in Pingyao county, Shanxi province, China. Photo: Reuters

Firefighters conduct rescue work at the site following a gas explosion at a coal mine in Pingyao county, Shanxi province, China. Photo: Reuters

A coal mine explosion killed at least 15 people in north China's Shanxi province, state media reported today.

The gas explosion on Monday afternoon, which took place in a mine owned by Shangxi Pingyao Fengyan Coal & Coke Group Co, left nine others injured, according to official news agency Xinhua.

35 miners were working underground when the blast happened, but 11 miners were able to escape.

The injured miners are in stable condition and authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion.

Deadly mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record.

At a meeting last week, China's cabinet -- The State Council -- ordered a special crackdown on production-related safety issues to further improve workplace safety.

In December 2018, seven miners were killed in southwestern Chongqing municipality after the connecting segment of a mining skip broke and fell down a mine shaft.

In October 2018, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping the workers. Only one miner was rescued alive.

In December 2016, explosions in two separate coal mines in the Inner Mongolia region and in northeastern Heilongjiang province killed at least 59 people.

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