MIANCHI, Henan - The death toll in a gas explosion in a coal mine shaft has risen to 26 in Central China's Henan province, local rescue headquarters said Wednesday.
A total of 46 miners were working underground when the gas blast occurred at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday in the Suzhuang Coal Mine in Mianchi County, Sanmenxia City, about 300 kilometers from the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, said a spokesman of the coal mine rescue headquarters.
Only 20 of them were lifted to the ground safely.
Rescuers are venting the toxic gas from the mine before they could identify the locations of the missing miners.
The police is investigating the incident, said the spokesman.
The mine, operated by state-owned Yi Ma Coal Industry Group and capable of producing 150,000 tons of coal a year, is under reform and industry re-grouping. It is said the mine is not allowed to operate during the re-grouping.
Yi Ma Coal Industry Group has coal mines in five provinces and regions across the country and employs 50,000 workers. The Group is valued at 15.7 billion yuan, according to its website.