HARBIN -- Three government officials were dismissed after a city government meeting on Monday, in connection with a coal mine blast on Sunday that killed 15 people in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The explosion in a shaft at the Changlong Coal Mine, in Xinxing District of Qitaihe City, left 15 miners dead.
Also, three rescuers died on Monday morning in a tunnel collapse as they searched for possible survivors who might still be trapped.
The dismissed officials were: Liu Li, former deputy Communist Party chief and head of the district; Yang Qi, former vice head, and Liu Wansheng, former candidate for district vice head.
The city government also advised the district to remove Liu Wansheng from the post of director of the district work safety bureau.
Police have also detained five executives of the coal mine. They were identified as Guo You, the legal representative; Chen Guohui, the manager; Su Haifeng, in charge of production; Li Jingwei, in charge of safety and ventilation, and Yang Wenchun, a safety inspector.
The cause of the blast is still under investigation.
The privately-owned coal mine is licensed and has an annual production capacity of 40,000 tons.