BEIJING, Aug 25, 2009 (AFP) - At least 11 workers were killed and three were missing in a gas explosion at a coal mine in north China's Shanxi province, a spokeswoman for the local government said Tuesday.
The accident took place on Monday at a colliery in Jinzhong city, according to the spokeswoman for the Heshun county government, Li Yuanzhen.
Eleven bodies were recovered, but three remained in the mine, she told AFP. Two workers who were working near the entrance to the mine shaft escaped unharmed.
Rescuers worked through the night to clear debris from the shaft entrance and inserted a pipe to improve ventilation, but had yet to start an underground search, the state news agency Xinhua reported.
A Heshun county official in charge of the local coal sector was sacked late Monday after the blast, the report said, citing a government spokesman.
Officials launched an investigation into the cause of the blast.