18 miners killed in fire, 12 missing

BEIJING — A fire in a coal mine in central China has killed 18 miners, authorities said Wednesday, as rescuers searched for 12 others still missing. The accident occurred on Tuesday at the Lisheng mine in the city of Xiangtan in Hunan province, the local government said in a statement on its website. Nine bodies were recovered late Tuesday, and the rest on Wednesday. The government had earlier said it hoped to find the miners alive. An investigation has been launched into the incident. The coal mine authority in the county, also named Xiangtan, ordered all mines shut until further notice, the statement said. China’s coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world, with safety often ignored in the quest for profits and a drive to meet surging demand for coal, the source of about 70 percent of the country’s energy.

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