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A methane explosion ripped through a coal mine before dawn Wednesday in war-torn eastern Ukraine, killing at least 17 workers, officials said.The blast occurred more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground as 230 workers were in the mine, separatist authorities in Donetsk said in a statement, blaming a combustible mixture of methane and air -- a common cause of industrial mining accidents.Rebel officials had said earlier that 32 workers were unaccounted for, suggesting 15 still remained trapped as of the evening.Reaching the stricken portion of the mine has been complicated, however, as one of the three entrances has been forced closed by artillery shelling that has blighted Donetsk.The mine has a history of deadly accidents, including one in November 2007 that killed 101 workers, and two more in December 2007 that killed 52 miners and then five more workers.Ninety-nine people were killed in Ukraine's coal mines in 2014, according to mining safety bodies.
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