At least 21 people have died after a coal mine flooded in China’s southwest province of Yunnan.
The incident happened on April 7, at Xiahaizi coal mine, located near Qujing City.
Mining.com reports an explosion occurred, causing the mine to flood and trapping 22 workers underground.
Eleven officials in charge of safety at the mine site have been sacked since the accident, a spokesman with the Qujing municipal government said.
Chinese state media reports seven people including the board chairman, the legal representative and the manager of the coal mine, had previously been detained by police.
The mine’s “complicated layout” and “narrow underground space” are said to be hampering search and recovery efforts.
China has the worst safety record of any coal mining country.
Last year 589 mining accidents left approximately 1050 people dead or missing.
Death figures alone for 2012 and 2011 stand at 1300 and 1973 respectively.
In an effort to lower numbers, the government launched a 'nationwide safety overhaul' to develop better working conditions on site and in turn prevent more deadly accidents.