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China gas explosion kills 28

A gas explosion at a coal mine in northeast China has killed 28 people.

China coal minesEnlarge
Rescuers prepare to enter a flooded coal pit to rescue trapped workers in Hengtai coal mine on August 24, 2011 in Qitaihe, Heilongjiang, China. (ChinaFotoPress/AFP/Getty Images)

A gas explosion at a coal mine in northeast China has killed 28 people.

China's State Administration of Work Safety said Saturday that the cause of the late-Friday blast at the state-owned mine outside of Baishan city is under investigation.

At least 13 people were rescued from the mine. Their injuries were not considered life threatening.

China is the world's biggest coal consumer, relying on the fossil fuel for 70 percent of its expanding energy needs.

The explosion occurred on the same day that a landslide came down a mountainside in Tibet, burying 83 workers in their huts in a gold mining area.

More from GlobalPost: 83 miners buried in Tibet landslide

Chinese mines are among the deadliest in the world, with frequent explosions caused by the gases released while mining. But a government campaign to close small, illegal mines and upgrade equipment in those legally operated has improved safety in recent years.

Official figures say 1973 people died in coal mining accidents in China in 2011, a 19 percent drop from the previous year. But labor rights groups disagree, saying the actual death toll is much higher due to under-reporting of accidents because of bosses who want to avoid punishment and economic losses.

More from GlobalPost: 20 Chinese coal miners dead, 14 injured, in carriage crash

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/130330/china-gas-explosion-kills-28