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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Kazakh mine blast toll reaches 41
The number of people killed by a blast at a Kazakhstan coal mine has risen to 41, officials say.

Rescuers found several bodies after the mine shaft was damaged by a suspected methane gas explosion on Wednesday.

Owners Arcelor Mittal promised to probe the cause of the leak, which investigators said allowed gas to build up deep underground.

More than 300 miners escaped unhurt from the Lenin mine in the northern Karaganda region.

Three people remained in intensive care on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported.

The chief executive of Arcelor Mittal, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, said in a statement: "We deeply regret this tragic accident and extend our full sympathy and condolences to the families of everyone that has been affected."

Mr Mittal said he would visit the site "this week" and pledged that a full investigation into the explosion, AFP said.

The mine, in the town of Shakhtinsk, some 200km (120 miles) south of the Kazakh capital, Astana, was taken over by Arcelor Mittal 11 years ago.

Another blast at a Mittal mine in the region killed 23 people in December 2004.

Kazakhstan mining blast kills 23
05 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Kazakhstan
13 Sep 06 |  Country profiles

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