Nov 21, 2015 12:56 AM

Fire in coal mine in China kills 21, leaves 1 missing

The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) A late-night fire at a coal mine killed 21 people and left one missing in the northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, local authorities and state media said Saturday.

The fire at the Xinghua mine in the city of Jixi was brought under control on Saturday, and 21 bodies were recovered at the mine, owned by the Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The provincial work safety administration confirmed the incident and the death toll on Saturday.

A work safety employee who only gave his family name of Xing, as is customary with low-ranking Chinese bureaucrats, said rescuers were searching for the missing person.

Xinhua said 38 miners were working underground when an angle belt caught fire on Friday night and that 16 people were pulled out to safety.

Xinhua did not say what caused the fire.

This is the deadliest mine incident since April this year, when a water leak at a coal mine killed 21 people in the northern city of Datong in Shanxi province.

China's mines have long been the world's deadliest, but safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years.

Last year, 931 people were killed in mine accidents throughout China, drastically down from the year 2002, when nearly 7,000 miners were killed.

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