YINGXIU, China - Rescuers rushed to reach 24 coal miners trapped underground by China's earthquake almost two weeks ago, officials said Saturday as the government sharply raised the death toll and warned it could exceed 80,000. It was not known if the miners were alive, but authorities were hoping for the best until they learned otherwise, said Wang Dexue, the deputy chief of the government's work safety department.
Premier Wen Jiabao returned to the quake zone on Saturday and hosted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a visit to Yingxiu, one of the hardest-hit towns. Jiabao said China's death toll has passed 60,000 and could rise to 80,000 or more...read on.
By John Amato — May 23, 2008