Five people have died and four others are missing after a gas burst at the state-owned Yushe Coal Mine in Shuicheng County in south-west China’s Guizhou Province.
According to the local authorities, 240 miners were inside the mine when the accident occurred on Sunday.
Five workers among the nine trapped were confirmed dead while 231 workers managed to escape the blast, according to the Xinhua news agency.
The rescue team has recovered the five bodies from the debris and are searching for the remaining four.
The cause of the accident is not yet known and is being investigated.
The incident comes nearly a month after a gas explosion at Hongtutian Coal Mine in Fuyuan County in the city of Qujing, which is located in south-west China’s Yunnan province; the accident claimed 14 lives.
Mines in China have come under criticism for being death traps; according to the Chinese Government 1,049 were dead or went missing in mine accidents in 2013 compared with 1,384 in 2012.
One of the worst mining accidents in China occurred in November 2009 when 104 miners died in several explosions at a coal mine in Heilongjiang province.
The Chinese Government has been taking measures to avoid accidents, one of the prominent ones being closing of over 1,000 smaller mines. It has also issued directions for mines to follow safety standards such as building emergency shelter systems, providing oxygen, etc.
The latest accident comes at a time when the coal mine explosion in Turkey that claimed 301 lives earlier this month is still fresh in the minds of the mining industry.