At least 15 people have died and 18 are missing after a gas explosion at a coal mine in south western China yesterday.
The blast occurred at a mine operated by Jinshangou Coal Industry in the city of Chongqing, with two of the 35 miners underground managing to escape, the Dow Jones reports.
The cause is still unknown.
Rescue work is underway with the municipal authorities ordering all of the city’s coal mines to suspend operations, pending new safety inspections.
China’s national regulator, the State Administration of Work Safety, has also ordered an investigation over the incident.
China is the world’s largest coal producer and consumer, however its coal mines have been regarded as some of the most deadly. Government efforts to improve safety have significantly reduced coal mining deaths in recent years from 6995 in 2002 down to 768 in 2015.