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Coal Mine Blast in Kazakhstan Kills 23


A powerful methane gas blast has ripped through a coal mine in Kazakhstan, killing at least 23 people.

Officials in Astana say there were 87 people working underground when the blast struck the Shakhtinskaya mine near the central city of Karaganda.

Eyewitnesses say the bodies of the dead were burnt beyond recognition.

They say there are no more people left in the mine and all survivors have been evacuated.

Reports from Almaty say Prime Minister Daniel Akhmetov has taken charge of a commission to investigate the accident.

The coal mine belongs to Kazakhstan's steel giant Ispat-Karmet, which is part of a company owned by Indian-born, London-based magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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