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Coal mine blast in China kills 2; rescuers try to reach 25 miners believed trapped

In this Aug. 19, 2014 photo, rescuers prepare to go into the Dongfang Coal Mine in Xiejiaji District of Huainan City, east China's Anhui Province, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. An explosion Tuesday in the coal mine in eastern China trapped 27 workers underground, state media reported. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Duan) NO SALES

BEIJING, China – A gas explosion at a coal mine in eastern China has killed at least two miners, and rescuers searched Wednesday for 25 more workers missing in the blast, state media reported.

Twelve other miners were rescued from the privately owned mine in Huainan city in Anhui province after Tuesday’s blast, one of whom suffered burns, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Rescuers pulled out two bodies Wednesday, including the driver of a belt conveyor, Xinhua reported. It said a search was under way for the remaining 25 people believed trapped.

The cause of the blast was under investigation.

Xinhua said the Dongfang Coal Mine had not heeded an order from the municipal government more than a month ago for all mines to suspend production because of the flood season.

China Central Television reported that most of the trapped miners were in their 40s.

China has the world’s deadliest mines, although the safety record has been improving in recent years as regulators have strengthened enforcement of safety rules.

On Thursday, a coal mine flooded in Jixi city in Heilongjiang province in China’s northeast, trapping 25 workers, nine of whom were pulled out the next day. Xinhua reported Tuesday that three bodies had been found. It said 13 were still trapped and that their chances of survival were slim.