BEIJING (AP) — An explosion tore through a coal mine in central China yesterday, killing at least 25 miners and trapping 141 others in tunnels and shafts below without communication, the government said.

Some 127 workers managed to escape the state-owned mine, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing the State Bureau of Production Safety. Some 45 were hospitalized, five with serious injuries, Xinhua said.

The blast rocked Chenjiashan coal mine in Shaanxi province at 7:20 a.m., when 293 workers were underground, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The explosion was centered around coal pits five miles from the mine entrance, it said.

Most of the miners who escaped were working close to the entrance, Xinhua said, and many suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. High levels of carbon monoxide were preventing rescuers from reaching parts of the tunnels.

Witnesses said they saw “huge amounts of thick smoke pouring from the mine’s ventilation vents,” hampering rescue efforts, according to the website of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper.

Staff at Chenjiashan said communication with the trapped miners was cut off, the site said.

On its evening newscast, state television showed ambulances rushing to the scene as huge crowds of people gathered outside the mine’s main gate.

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