TAIYUAN, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in a coal mine gas blast Sunday in north China's Shanxi Province has jumped to 44, rescuers confirmed.
The accident occurred at about 2: 00 a.m. at the Tunlan Coal Mine of Shanxi Coking Coal Group in Gujiao City near Taiyuan, the provincial capital, when 436 miners were working underground.
A total of 340 miners managed to get out after the blast.
A rescuer told Xinhua that some relatives of the trapped miners said they have got cell phone calls from their dear ones under the mine, which means they are alive.
Hospital sources said they have received 153 miners at 11:15 a.m., but the number kept changing.
Most of the miners suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, said doctors in the Xishan Hospital of Coal and Electricity in Gujiao, one of the nearest hospitals to the mine.
Zhang Baoshun, the provincial Communist Party committee chief, who is leading the rescue work at the accident site, urged to use scientific methods in rescue to prevent secondary disasters.
So far, 57 rescuers from seven professional rescue teams are at the mine to search for the trapped workers.
More than 40 ambulances have been called to the accident site.
All of the 68 hyperbaric oxygenc chambers in hospitals in Taiyuan are open for admitting the injured miners.
The Shanxi Coking Coal Group is one of China's largest coking coal producers. The Tunlan Coal Mine has an annual production capacity of 5 million tonnes.