China mine: Xiaojiawan blast death toll rises to 43

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, rescuers work at Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in Panzhihua City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, 30 August, 2012 Rescue efforts for the remaining miners trapped are hampered by high temperature

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The number of dead in China's worst mine accident in recent years has risen to 43, with three men still trapped underground, state media say.

About 150 miners were in the Xiaojiawan coal mine in Sichuan province when a gas explosion occurred on Wednesday.

Fifty of the survivors are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and another seven are reported to be in critical condition.

The mine owners have been detained pending an investigation.

Accidents are frequent in China's mining industry, which is criticised for poor safety standards.

Official figures show that 1,973 people died in coal mining accidents in the country last year.

China's central government has introduced measures aimed at improving standards, but these directives are often ignored at local level.

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