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China coal mine explosion kills 17

The death toll from a coal mine explosion in south-western China has risen to 17.

The official Xinhua News Agency said 28 miners were in the shaft when the blast occurred on Tuesday in Guizhou province.

Eleven were rescued and are being treated in hospital.

Initial reports said 13 miners had died, but three rescued workers later died in hospital and another body was recovered from the shafts, bringing the toll to 17.

Xinhua did not give a cause for the blast.

China's coal mines are the most dangerous in the world, although the industry's safety record has improved in recent years as smaller, illegal mines have been closed.

Annual fatalities are now about one-third of the high of nearly 7,000 in 2002.

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From Belfast Telegraph