Source Pravda.Ru

Death toll of Chinese coal mine explosion rises to 20

The death toll in a coal mine explosion in northern China rose to 20 on Thursday with one miner still missing and presumed dead, state media reported.

The explosion occurred at a mine on the outskirts of Shanxi province's Jincheng City on Sunday, but the mine owner did not immediately report it to the government, Xinhua News Agency said.

It said police arrested 11 people, including the mine owner, in connection with the blast.

Xinhua did not say what charges they could face, the AP said.

China's coal mines are the world's deadliest, with numerous fires, floods and other disasters every year despite repeated official promises to improve safety.

The government says 4,750 people died in coal mine accidents last year - an average of 13 a day. It is common for mine owners to delay reporting accidents or to not report them at all.

Xinhua said all the coal mines in Jincheng, which is in the southeast of the province, had been ordered to stop production and check their safety procedures.

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