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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 December, 2004, 08:44 GMT
Kazakhstan mining blast kills 23
At least 23 coal miners have been killed in a powerful explosion in a mine in the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, officials say.

An emergency ministry spokesman said 23 bodies had been recovered after the blast in the mine in central Karaganda region in the early hours of Sunday.

Three injured miners have been hospitalised, the spokesman told Reuters news agency.

An inquiry has reportedly been set up to investigate the blast.

"Twenty-three dead have been recovered. Three injured miners have been taken to hospitals," the spokesman told Reuters by telephone.

"There are no more people left in the mine at the moment. We have evacuated all the survivors," he said from the Kazakh capital Astana.

More than 80 miners were said to be working underground in the Shakhtinskaya coal mine at the time.

The blast ripped through one of the shaft's tunnels at 0315 local time (2015GMT), reported Interfax news agency.

There is no immediate information on what caused the explosion.

Prime Minister Daniel Akhmetov is said to have ordered a government commission into the incident.

This region of Kazakhstan provides most of the coal for the country, AFP news agency says.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Kazakhstan
26 Oct 04 |  Country profiles


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