Mine Disaster in China Kills at Least 16

Mine Disaster in China Kills at Least 16

HONG KONG — Sixteen people who had been trapped in a coal mine in southwestern China died of carbon monoxide poisoning, local officials said on Sunday.

A total of 17 people were pulled from the Songzao mine in the city of Chongqing, the local government said on social media. One person was taken to the hospital, it added.

The deadly carbon monoxide levels were caused by the ignition of belts in the mine, the local government said, without providing details.

The mine had previously been cited for safety violations, according to the Chongqing Coal Mine Safety Administration. Regulators issued a fine just two weeks ago after inspectors found that the site, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned Chongqing Energy Investment Group, had not carried out monthly safety checks on equipment.

The company and several managers were fined last year for not following proper procedures while blasting in the mine.

China has a long history of deadly mine disasters, particularly in coal mines, where toxic and explosive gases are often found. The safety of the country’s mines has significantly improved in recent years, observers say, but deadly accidents still occur.

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