19 miners were killed while another two remained trapped underground after a roof collapse happened in a coal mine in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.
The accident happened around 4:30 p.m. local time Saturday at the Lijiagou coal mine of the Baiji Mining Co., Ltd. in the city of Shenmu. At that time, 87 people were working underground. Sixty-six of them were lifted to safety after the accident.
The search for the last two trapped miners continued. An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.
The death toll in a coal mine roof collapse in northern China has risen to 21 after rescuers found two more miners dead on Sunday, state media reported.
Rescuers had been searching for two remaining trapped miners but found them dead Sunday morning, Xinhua reported. Another 66 miners were safely evacuated from the mine.
The cause of the accident at the site, run by privately owned Baiji Mining, is still under investigation. Private coal mines in China typically take fewer safety precautions than larger state-owned mines.
Information about the accident cannot be disclosed, a driver at the company said who answered Baiji’s registered phone number. The mine is a small scale operation, he said, declining to give his name.
Deadly mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record despite efforts to improve coal production conditions and crack down on illegal mines. In December last year, seven miners were killed and three others injured in an accident at a coal mine in China’s southwest.
According to China’s National Coal Mine Safety Administration, the country saw 375 coal mining related deaths in 2017, down 28.7 percent year-on-year.
But despite improvements, “the situation of coal mine safety production is still grim,” the bureau said in a statement following a coal mine safety conference last January.