Shanghai - Nineteen miners were killed and 28 are missing in China after a gas explosion in a coal shaft, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, marking one of the biggest disasters of the year in the accident-plagued industry.
Rescue teams from other mines had been sent to the Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in Sichuan province where 107 miners had been rescued after Wednesday's blast, it reported.
China's mines are the deadliest in the world because of lax enforcement of safety standards and a rush to feed demand from a robust economy. But the death toll from accidents has been falling, government statistics show.
The government work safety watchdog said that 1 973 miners were killed in coal mine accidents last year, according to state media. In 2010, 2 433 people were killed, down from a toll of 2 631 the previous year.
Xinhua said the Xiaojiawan mine was owned by Zhengjin Industry and Trade Company, Limited. Police were questioning the owner.