Sixteen trapped Chinese miners found dead

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BEIJING, Oct 15 (Reuters) Sixteen Chinese miners have been found dead after being trapped underground for more than 30 hours, Xinhua news agency today said, the same day President Hu Jintao vowed China would try to curb major accidents at work.

The 16 were among 283 working underground at the mine in Jiangxi province in east China on Saturday when a tunnel became blocked with coal. Three were still missing.

''About 360 tonnes of coal fragments filled up a 30-metre tunnel,'' Xinhua said. ''There is little hope for the survival of the three missing miners''.

The state-owned mine, set up in 1958, had experienced more than 180 ''gas outbursts'' since the 1970s. The last two accidents, in November 2003 and August 2006, killed a total 54 people.

China's coal industry is the deadliest in the world, with 2,163 miners killed in 1,320 accidents in the first seven months of 2007.

President Hu Jintao opened the Communist Party's biggest meeting in five years on Monday, promising to improve worker safety and reduce the number of major industrial accidents.

REUTERS SS VC0920

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