BEIJING (AP) - Eight people are dead and three missing after an explosion inside a coal mine in central China.
The blast occurred at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Zoubao mine in Hunan province. Eighteen people escaped, according to a Tuesday statement from China's national safety regulator, the State Administration of Work Safety.
The administration did not immediately identify the cause of the blast, but said the site was considered a "high gas mine." Gas explosions inside mines are often caused when a flame or electrical spark ignites gas leaking from the coal seam. Ventilation systems are supposed to prevent gas from becoming trapped.
China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal. Its mining industry has long been one of the world's deadliest, with hundreds of deaths annually.