Death toll in mine explosion reaches 105
Dec 07,2007 00:00 by UPI

LINFEN, China - Twenty-six bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a coal mine explosion in Shanxi Province, China, raising the death toll Friday to 105.

Rescuers said their latest figures Friday indicated 120 people were inside the Xinyao Coal Mine at the time of the blast Wednesday night, Shanghai Daily reported.

Initial reports suggested 111 miners were working inside the shaft at the time of the blast.

Investigators said results of their initial investigation suggest the explosion was caused by illegal mining of a coat seam that had not been authorized for production.

Rescue officials said they did not learn about the Wednesday night explosion until Thursday morning. The officials said managers of the mine apparently delayed reporting the incident to mount their own rescue operation. They said the delay in reporting likely increased the death toll.

Rescue operations were ongoing Friday.

© 2007 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.