XIANGTAN, Hunan: At least seven people were dead after a coal mine fire Tuesday trapped at least 27 workers in central China's Hunan Province, a local government official said.
The accident happened after underground cables caught fire at around 2 p.m., while about 70 miners were working in the shaft at Lisheng Coal Mine in Tanjiashan Town, Xiangtan County of Xiangtan City, the official said.
By 10:30 p.m., rescuers had retrieved the bodies of seven workers at a working face in the shaft with a depth of 160 meters, he said.
Fourty-three workers managed to escape from the shaft, while others were trapped, he said.
In heavy rain, 50 rescuers have put out the fire, reopened the ventilation system and continued searching for other trapped miners.
The corporate representative and the owner of the colliery are under police custody, the official said.
The coal mine was run by the Zizhu Village of Tanjiashan Town, with 180 workers and an annual output capacity of 60,000 tonnes.