The death toll from a Chinese coal mine explosion on the weekend has risen to 92, according to Sate-owned media reports.
The explosion occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning at the state-run Xinxing mine in the north-western Heilongjiang province, near the Russian border.
The cause of the explosion is believed to be a build-up of gas.
It is has been reported that 16 miners remain trapped in the underground, but rescue efforts have been hampered by debris covering the mine’s main entrance, forcing emergency teams to access the shaft from an adjacent mine.
A total of 528 workers were in the mine at the time of the explosion, with hundreds able to escape.
China News Service has reported that the head of the mine, which is run by the Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group, as well as the mine’s chief engineer have been removed from their positions.
According to the mining group’s website, the mine produces 1.45 million tonnes of coal a year and in 2009 ranked 12th out of China’s top 100 mining companies and seventh in terms of production volume.
China has a notoriously poor mine safety record, with hundreds of mine workers reported dead every year.