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17 trapped in Chinese coal mine after carbon monoxide leak

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    Agence France-Presse

Beijing   /   Sun, September 27, 2020   /   11:29 am
17 trapped in Chinese coal mine after carbon monoxide leak Illustration of coal mine. (Shutterstock/iurii)

Seventeen workers were trapped underground in a coal mine in southwest China on Sunday after it was flooded with carbon monoxide, according to a local government notice.

The mine's conveyor belt caught fire in the early hours of the morning, state news agency Xinhua cited the government as saying, which led to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide gas leaking into the mine.

More than 100 rescuers and medics were at the site just outside the city of Chongqing and the cause of the accident is under investigation, said the Qijiang district government on social media platform Weibo.

The facility, Songzao Coal Mine, is owned by state energy firm Chongqing Energy.

Read also: British man in Bali rescued after 6 days trapped in well

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.

At least 14 miners were killed in a coal and gas blast last December at a mine in southwestern Guizhou province.

In December 2018, seven miners were killed in Chongqing after the connecting segment of a skip broke and fell down a shaft.

In October the same year, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping the workers. Only one miner was rescued alive.