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Local officials removed after Chinese mine accident kills 18

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a miner receives medical treatment after being rescued from the Jilinqiao coal mine in Huangfengqiao Township, Youxian county, central China's Hunan province, Monday, May 8, 2017. A gas leak in the coal mine killed more than a dozen people, local authorities said Monday. (Li Ga/Xinhua via AP)
May 09, 2017 - 1:41 AM

BEIJING - Authorities have removed six officials in central China from their positions after 18 workers were killed by a gas leak in a coal mine, state media reported.

Those removed included the deputy county chief for Youxian County, Wang Zhuowen, the official Xinhua News Agency said late Monday.

Those responsible for the accident were detained by police, the news agency reported, although it was unclear if they were the same as the local officials removed from office.

Investigators were testing the makeup of the gas blamed for Sunday's accident at the Jilinqiao mine in Hunan Province. China is the world's largest coal producer and its mining industry has long been one of the world's deadliest, with hundreds of deaths annually.

After the gas leak was discovered, Jilinqiao's manager asked workers to enter the mine to rescue their colleagues, Xinhua said. The manager and some others who participated in the rescue were among those killed.

Authorities said 37 rescued miners were sent to hospitals for treatment.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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