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China mine blast kills 18

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At least 18 people were killed and 12 others injured in a coal mine gas blast in northeast China's Jilin Province, officials said today.

The blast occurred around 1:26 pm (local time) yesterday at Qingxing coal mine in Helong City.

A total of 73 people were working underground when the blast occurred, and 55 of them were rescued, local authorities said.

Rescue work came to an end this morning, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

An investigation into the cause of the blast is under way.

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