According to local media reports, 45 miners were working underground at the Hengtai coal mine when workers accidently drilled into a neighbouring mine, prompting water seepage which resulted in flooding.
The miner was reportedly confirmed dead early Sunday when only three people were brought to the surface that day.
The State Administration of Work Safety said a rescue mission was underway to find the remaining trapped miners.
According to China Daily, rescuers were trying to pump out water and drill holes to deliver food and air to the trapped workers.
One rescuer told China Daily: “Water looks like it is being pumped out fast and it seems they still have a chance to survive.”
China Daily said an estimated 40,000 cubic metres of water had entered the mine.
According to news service Xinhua, the government instructed the mine to close in 2007, but it restarted illegally on August 16.
In response to the coal mine disaster, two officials have reportedly been fired.
China has been hit with a spate of coal mining-related incidents of late, adding to its poor safety reputation.
Last week ten people were reportedly killed in two separate coal mine accidents, while three miners were lucky to escape after cement from a coal mine ventilation shaft fell on top of them.