BEIJING (AP) The death toll in a gas explosion at a coal mine in northern China rose to 105 Friday after 26 more bodies were recovered, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
It was still unclear how many miners were underground at the time of Wednesday night's explosion at the Rui Zhiyuan coal mine in coal-rich Shanxi province. The official Xinhua News Agency said 120 were in the mine, up from the previously reported 111.
Xinhua reported Thursday that some 15 miners were rescued or escaped.
Mine safety regulations are often loosely enforced, making it difficult to track how many people are working in a shaft. Mining companies, for example, often send in more miners than allowed in order to extract as much coal as possible to meet the country's voracious energy needs.
Xinhua said managers of the mine in Shanxi province's Hongtong county had delayed reporting the accident overnight, wasting the crucial hours when coordinated rescue efforts could be most effective.
The state work safety administration said Thursday the mine was properly licensed, was owned by the local government and had an annual output capacity of 210,000 tons of coal. It said mine managers were being questioned by police and that its bank account had been frozen.
China's coal mining industry is the most dangerous in the world, averaging 13 deaths a day from fires, explosions and floods. In August, 181 miners died when heavy rains flooded two mines in eastern Shandong province.
Many of the accidents are blamed on mine owners who disregard safety rules and fail to invest in required ventilation, fire control and other equipment.
Meanwhile, 11 people were trapped after a roof collapsed in an iron- and gold-ore mine in Chengde in Hebei province, also in northern China, Xinhua said.
It said the accident in the private mine happened Monday but was not reported to officials until Thursday. It did not give the fate of the miners.
Xinhua reported separately that 12 people died of gas poisoning in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China.
It said the poisoning happened in an outdoor tent that was being used by workers who were digging for licorice root, a medicinal herb used in traditional Chinese medicine.