Rescuers in southwest China raced on Wednesday to locate 19 workers trapped in two flooded coal mines, state media said, in the latest incidents to strike the nation's notoriously dangerous collieries.
In Guiyang city, the capital of Guizhou province, emergency teams searched for 11 missing miners at the Fuhong mine, which flooded on Sunday, the official Xinhua news agency reported. One body has been recovered.
Provincial safety official Pu Jianjiang was quoted as saying those missing still had a chance of survival. A preliminary investigation revealed that a design flaw could have been the cause of the accident.
The second incident, which took place late Tuesday on the border of Guizhou province and the Guangxi region, left eight workers trapped. A local official said rescue work was under way at the mine, which was operating illegally.
Last year, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, according to official statistics, or a rate of more than six workers per day.
Labour rights groups, however, say the actual death toll is likely much higher than official data indicates, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.