46 dead after explosion in Chinese mine

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State media said at least 46 miners were killed after an explosion ripped through a mine in the central Chinese province of Henan.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the blast early today hit a mine in Pingdingshan city in the province. At least another 12 miners are missing.

Although safety conditions improved sharply in recent years, China's mining industry is by far the world's deadliest, with accidents and blasts killing more than 2,600 coal miners last year.

Xinhua reported 72 miners were trapped initially but 26 escaped. State broadcaster CCTV reported on its website that many of the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning set off by the explosions.

The report said an investigation is under way into the cause of the explosion.