Two mine workers have died and 25 others have been trapped following a gas explosion at the Dongfang coal mine in the Xiejiaji district of Anhui in China.
The blast occurred in the early hours of 19 August while 39 people were working at the mine. Around 12 mining workers managed to escape the blast, with one person suffering burns.
Rescue works have been hindered as the explosion caused part of one of the tunnels to cave in. Emergency workers are waiting for the arrival of heavy machinery to break through the collapsed mine and free the trapped workers.
An investigation is underway to discover the exact cause of the accident.
According to reports from Xinhua, the government had ordered the closure of Dongfang mine in June due to safety concerns.
The mine has an annual coal production capacity of 90,000t, according to the provincial coal mine safety supervision bureau, reported Xinhua News Agency.
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This accident follows flooding at a coal mine in Jixi city in Heilongjiang province of China on 14 August, which left three people dead and 13 missing.
According to official estimates, around 52,600 workers have been killed in Chinese mines since 2001.
Despite these figures, the Chinese State Administration of Work Safety claims that mine-related deaths in the country have reduced from 6,995 in 2002 to 1,049 in 2013.