Beijing, Nov 2: All 33 people trapped underground after an explosion rocked a coal mine in southwest China were today declared dead as bodies of the remaining 15 missing miners in the latest mine accident to hit the world's top coal producing nation were retrieved in the wee hours.
A total of 35 miners were working underground at the privately-owned Jinshangou Coal Mine in Laisu Town in Chongqing Municipality's Yongchuan District, when an explosion shook the mine around 11:30 am on Monday.
While two escaped unharmed, the rest 33 were trapped in the pit following which rescuers had launched an all-out bid to search them. Over 80 rescuers found the bodies in a pit at Jinshangou Coal Mine, Yongchuan District, at around 2 am (local time) and lifted them out of the shaft two hours later, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting the local rescue headquarters.
An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway and is being supervised by the State Administration of Work Safety. Local governmental workers are identifying the dead and handling the aftermath.
The bodies of 18 miners were recovered yesterday. Preliminary investigations show the mine exceeded its mining boundaries, had insufficient and malfunctioning equipment, poor ventilation and disorderly management.
The designed capacity of the mine is 60,000 tonnes of coal every year, according to its license. China's mining industry has long been among the world's deadliest with frequent mine accidents. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal.