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17 killed in China mine explosion

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Dynamite stored in mine in central Hunan province explodes
  • 17 miners killed when blast generates toxic gas
  • Mine accidents common in China
  • 2,631 people were killed in such accidents in 2009

(CNN) -- Chinese officials were investigating Sunday a coal mine blast that killed 17 miners in central Hunan province, state media said.

Dynamite stored at the Shuguang Coal Mine exploded Saturday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, generating toxic gas that killed the underground miners.

Mine accidents are common in China.

On May 13, a coal mine explosion in southwestern Guizhou province killed 21 workers. And last month, the Wangjialing mine in Shaxi province flooded, leaving 153 workers trapped. Rescue workers pulled out 115 alive.

In 2009, 2,631 people were killed in mine accidents in the country. The figure, while high, is down from 2002 when 6,995 people died.

In April, the country launched a two-month campaign to review safety regulations in mines and other industries that have had serious accidents.