An explosion in a Chinese coal mine killed at least 20 miners in central Henan Province on Saturday, state media reported. The accident occurred at 6 am (6 pm EDT on Friday) in a pit owned by Pingyu Coal & Electric Co Ltd based in Yuzhou City and rescue operations were under way, the Xinhua news agency said. The agency said earlier that more than 30 miners were trapped underground. The accident comes in the wake of Chile's dramatic rescue of 33 miners trapped for more than two months underground. China's mines are the deadliest in the world, due to lax safety standards and a rush to feed demand from a robust economy. More than 2600 people died in coal mine accidents in 2009 alone. The national work safety agency said the explosion occurred as miners were drilling a hole to release pressure from a gas build-up as part of efforts to decrease the risk of blasts. The gas concentration inside the mine was reported to have been at 40%, which is 40 times higher than normal acceptable levels. More than 70 rescuers are battling dangerous levels of gas and the risk of falling rocks as they work to free the trapped miners. "There is not much of a chance that the 11 trapped miners could have survived and it will take three to four days to find them," said Du Bo, deputy director of the rescue operation. Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, had said on Saturday the missing men could still be found safely. "All the trapped people under the mine can be <b>...</b>
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