Top officials at a state-owned coal mine in the northeastern province of Jilin have been detained after at least seven workers died in the second fatal explosion at the pit in four days, state media reported.
Four miners, all with minor injuries, had been rescued by yesterday afternoon while 10 more were still trapped underground after Monday's explosion at the Babao Coal Mine in Baishan, cnr.cn , the news portal of China National Radio, reported.
Another explosion in the same pit on Friday night killed 29 miners.
A deputy mayor of Baishan, Wang Shuping, told the news portal: "Without prior permission, some leading figures from the coal mine company assigned 21 miners to go to a platform around 300 to 400 metres underground to do some emergency rescue work [related to Friday's accident]."
It was not clear why any emergency rescue was needed on Monday, given that the 12 miners who survived Friday's blast had already been brought to the surface in stable condition.
The news portal said senior officials at the coal mine who could be held responsible for the second deadly accident had been detained.
It quoted experts as saying that geological conditions in the pit were complicated, making it hard to rescue the 10 miners trapped following Monday's explosion, and their survival prospects were rated as slim.
However, rescue work would continue and the provincial coal mine safety watchdog had set up a task force to investigate the case.
According to official figures, 1,384 people died in coal mine accidents on the mainland last year, down from the 1,973 fatalities in 2011.
Separately, rescuers suspended work at the site of a landslide that buried 83 people at a copper mine in Tibet owned by China Gold International Resources on safety grounds, Xinhua reported yesterday.
Thirty-six bodies have been recovered since the landslide struck a workers' camp at the Jiama copper mine in Maizhokunggar county, approximately 68 kilometres from the regional capital, Lhasa , on Friday. Most of the miners were migrants.
Rescue work was suspended yesterday after four fissures more than 600 metres long were found at the site, posing risks of a further landslide, Xinhua reported.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg