A state news agency says the death toll in a northeast China coal mine blast has jumped to 87.

The official Xinhua News Agency says another 21 people are still trapped underground on Sunday after the pre-dawn blast a day earlier at the state-run Xinxing mine in Heilongjiang province near the border with Russia.

The massive explosion cut power in the mine as well as ventilation and communication links, hampering the efforts of more than 300 rescue workers.

A total of 528 people were working in the mine at the time of the 2:30 a.m. explosion and 389 escaped after the blast.

A total of 528 people were working in the Xinxing mine at the time of the 2:30 a.m. explosion, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a statement. It said 418 workers escaped.

Television footage showed smoke billowing out of the mine after the blast that resulted from a gas build—up. The explosion caused a nearby building to collapse.

State—run CCTV displayed a diagram showing the miners trapped about a third of a mile (half a kilometer) underground. Footage showed one entrance was blocked, and rescuers in orange suits with breathing equipment attempted to enter through another.

Overnight temperatures dropped as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius), according to the Central Meteorological Station.

Wang Xingang, one of those rescued, recounted how the blast briefly knocked him out.

“When I regained consciousness, I groped my way out in the dark and called for help,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted the 27—year—old electrician as saying.

Xinxing is located near the border with Russia, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) northeast of the provincial capital, Harbin.


China mining disaster raises questionsNovember 21, 2009

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