BEIJING (AP) -- China says its coal mines have had fewer fatalities and accidents this year compared with the same period in 2010, though its mines are still the world's most dangerous.
The official Xinhua News Agency on Saturday quoted the top official in charge of coal mine safety as saying that 1,419 miners were killed in the first nine months of the year, 27.6 percent fewer than the same period last year.
Zhao Tiechui told Xinhua that the number of deadly accidents fell 18.7 percent to 892 during the same period.
The report didn't credit any specific measures for the improvements, though China has cracked down on the smaller, illegal mines blamed for many deaths.
Fatalities in China's coal mines last year were about one-third of the high of nearly 7,000 in 2002.