21 miners confirmed dead in gas explosion at western China coal mine

An official says a gas explosion at a coal mine in western China has killed 21 workers.

The workers were earlier reported trapped by the blast in Xinjiang region's Changji prefecture. Twelve others escaped the explosion early Friday.

An official at the Xinjiang's work safety bureau said Saturday that 21 miners were confirmed dead and one was injured. The official, surnamed Wang, refused to give further details and said the incident was under investigation.

Such accidents are usually caused by a failure to ventilate methane gas from the shaft. China's mines are the deadliest in the world and suffer frequent explosions, floods and cave-ins.

Safety improvements have reduced the number of deaths in recent years, but regulations are still often ignored.