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Nine dead, 38 confirmed trapped after Sichuan colliery blast

(Xinhua)

08:43, August 30, 2012

CHENGDU, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Nine miners have been confirmed dead and 38 others are still trapped underground after a gas blast in a coal mine on Wednesday afternoon in the southwestern province of Sichuan, rescuers said Thursday morning.

The government revised the number of trapped workers from the previous 44 to 38 after a further count, according to sources with the rescue headquarters.

A total of 152 miners were working underground at the Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in the coal-rich Panzhihua city when the blast occurred at around 6 p.m..

As of 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, the death toll from the colliery blast has reached nine, including three who were lifted out of the pit but later died in hospitals and six others who had been confirmed dead trapped underground.

Rescue work involving 76 people from seven professional teams is underway. A work team led by Yang Dongliang, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, is on the way to the mine to oversee the rescue work.

The coal mine is owned by Zhengjin Industry and Trade Co., Ltd. in Panzhihua, some 750 km southwest of the provincial capital Chengdu.

Sources said the owner of the mine has been put under police custody for investigation.

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