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Gas explosion at China coal mine kills 18, traps 2

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The picture shows a general view of a coal mine, operated by the state-owned Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group, on the outskirts of Jixi, Heilongjiang province, China, October 24, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)

At least 18 people have been killed and two more remain trapped following an explosion in a Chinese coal mine.

The explosion ripped through the colliery in the northwestern autonomous region of Ningxia Hui Tuesday morning, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the report late Tuesday, rescuers recovered at least 18 bodies from the mine shaft, with two workers still trapped. A total of 200 rescuers and medical staffers worked to rescue the trapped miners.

The cause of the accident at the mine, which is operated by Linli Coal Mining company in the city of Shizuishan, is under investigation.

This is not the first time that such an accident claims the lives of coal miners in China, the world’s largest producer of coal.

In March, nearly 20 workers were killed in a similar incident in the northern province of Shanxi.

Last year, accidents in coal mines across the country reportedly killed 931 people.

China is struggling to step up enforcement of safety regulations in the mining sector.

Chinese authorities say many accidents are caused by corrupt managers who seek profit over workers' safety.

Officials say the number dying annually in the country's mines has fallen to fewer than 1,000 a year in the past decade.

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