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Explosion at Chinese mine leaves 21 dead

Rescuers battled dangerous levels of gas and the risk of falling coal as they worked to free 16 miners after an explosion at a coal mine in central China.

Officials confirmed that 21 miners were killed in yesterday's incident. Some 276 workers were in the mine when the explosion happened and 239 escaped, according to the state work safety administration.

It wasn't clear how far underground the miners were trapped or what their conditions were. The gas level inside the mine was 40 per cent, far higher than the normal level of near one per cent, the state-run broadcaster reported.

The 20 dead miners' bodies had been located and rescuers were trying to retrieve them, the report said.

Meanwhile, four men were trapped 490ft underground after a tunnel collapsed in a gold mine in southern Ecuador. Authorities said rescue efforts were under way at the mine located near the city of Portovelo, about 250 miles south-west of the country's capital Quito.

The condition of the men was unknown.

Sunday Independent