At least 21 people were killed and 16 others remained trapped inside a mine in central China following a disastrous gas explosion, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.
According to the reports, more than 70 rescuers are now trying to rescue the remaining 16 miners inside the mine, despite the threat of possible second gas explosion due to dangerous levels of coal dust and gas build up.
China is the most dangerous mining site in the world with thousands of men killed over the last decade.
Rescue spokespersons said that the blast has displaced more than 2, 500 tons of coal dust causing further problems to rescue workers. He added that the location of the miners was still unconfirmed or whether they are still alive.
“We still have to remove all the coal dusts in the air shaft and the gas, which has now reached the 40 percent level,” said the state-run Pingyu Coal & Electric Co. Ltd in a statement.
The company said that engineers were able to restore the ventilation inside the mine but gas levels remained high. It added that the accident occurred while workers were trying to drill holes on the sides of the shafts to release pressure from a reported gas build up.
The explosion occurred amid Chile’s celebration following successful rescue operations to some 33 miners who have been underground for a record 69 days.