Explosion kills 21 in Chinese coal mine

Twenty-one miners are dead after a gas explosion trapped them underground in a coal mine in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Chinese state media network Xinhua reported that the blast happened at 1:30 in the morning. Twelve workers escaped, 22 were trapped and only one of them made it out alive.

The bureau of coal mine safety supervision told Xinhua that "professional coal mine rescue teams and firefighters" were sent to the site.

Mining accidents are common in China. In fact, according to Reuters, Chinese coal mines are the "deadliest in the world."

But China's safety record is improving. As MINING.com reported earlier this year, the death toll from coal mining was down 33.7% in 2012 compared with 2011. Last year 1,384 people died in coal mining accidents.

The country is also shutting down 2,000 small coal mines over the next two years in an effort to curb pollution.

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