TAIYUAN, China -- Casualty estimates varied widely following a coal mine explosion in northern China on Thursday, with reported deaths ranging from 46 to 96.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said two offices of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety had conflicting reports, with one saying there were 46 dead with 13 survivors and 74 unaccounted for, and another saying 96 were killed.
The blast happened at Xinyao pit, located in Linfen, the report said. Local officials said 13 rescue crews had been sent to the site, and 15 miners had either escaped or been rescued.
There were nearly 2,000 coal mining accidents through October this year, killing more than 3,000 people, earlier reports from Xinhua said.
A BBC correspondent in Beijing said government statistics show an average of 13 miners are killed in China every day in mining accidents.
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.