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Death Toll in China Mine Blast Rises to 138


China's state-run media say 138 workers are now known to have died after an explosion in a coal mine in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

The Xinhua news agency says 221 miners were working at the time of the blast late Sunday (at the Dongfeng mine in Qitaihe). Only 72 miners have been found alive. Eleven remain missing.

Rescue workers entered the mine shaft to search for survivors after the ventilation systems were restored. The systems had been shut down by the coal dust explosion.

Chinese news reports say the mine was properly licensed, as part of (Heilongjiang Longmei Group) a state-owned mining conglomerate.

China's mining industry is the world's most dangerous. Many mines devote little attention to safety standards, resulting in frequent cave-ins, explosions, floods and fires.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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