20 killed in China coal mine accident, 24 trapped

The accident occurred around 6.30 a.m. at the Sizhuang Coal Mine in Shizong county, the Yunnan Provincial Emergency Response Office announced in a statement. The local government said earlier that a "gas explosion" had ripped through the mine.

The exact number of miners working underground at the time of the accident is still uncertain. A rescue operation is underway, involving about 30 firemen, 100 professional rescuers and 300 medical workers.

Two emergency communication command vehicles, six fire trucks and more than 30 ambulances have also been dispatched by local authorities, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The privately-run Sizhuang Coal Mine reports an annual output capacity of 90,000 tonnes. A spate of mine accidents has occurred in China in recent weeks, with scores of mine workers caught in either gas explosions or mine collapses, leaving several dead and hundreds injured.

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