Chinese media outlet Xinhua said Wednesday that one accident at the Pianpoyuan coal mine in Ziyun Miao Buyi Autonomous County was caused by flooding. The other, which occurred at an illegal operation in Zhaizi village, Hezhang County, was due to a gas explosion.
There were 31 miners working at the Pianpoyuan operation, 13 of whom escaped, but the bodies of six workers have been recovered. The bodies of all five workers involved in the explosion at the illegal colliery have also been recovered, the report said. Rescue teams continue to work at the Pianpoyuan site to locate the 12 still missing.
Though China is the world leader in coal production, approximately 6000 Chinese workers died last year in 3300 coal mine blasts, floods and other accidents, according to official figures.