updated 7/11/2005 11:02:45 PM ET 2005-07-12T03:02:45

An explosion in a coal mine in China’s far west killed at least 65 miners, and rescuers were searching for 18 others, the government said Tuesday.

The explosion tore through the Shenlong Coal Mine in the Xinjiang region early Monday.

China’s coal mines are the world’s deadliest, with explosions, floods and fires killing thousands of workers each year. Accidents often are blamed on lack of safety equipment and lax safety rules.

Accidents killed 1,113 coal miners in the first three months of this year — up 20.8 percent from the same period of 2004, according to the government.

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