CHANGSHA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- At least seven people were killed and one injured after a gas blast at coal mine in central China's Hunan Province Sunday evening, local government sources said Monday.
The accident occurred around 6:25 p.m. Sunday at the Minxing Coal Mine in Zhonglian Township, Lengshuijiang city, while 15 miners were working underground. Eight people including the injured managed to escape.
Rescue work finished at around 5:00 a.m. Monday, leaving the death toll at seven. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
The mine's legal representative, who allegedly attempted to conceal the accident, is under police custody, a spokesman with city government said.
Minxing Coal Mine opened in 1994 and operates under a collective ownership with an annual productivity of 60,000 tonnes of coal.
Over the past two months, coal and gas blasts also occurred in Yunnan, Sichuan, Heilongjiang and Xinjiang, killing at least 46.
The majority of China's coal mines, 94 percent, are shaft mines that pose significant risks for gas safety management, said Wang Xianzheng, head of the China Coal Industry Association, at an international coal mine and gas safety management forum held earlier in May in China's eastern city of Hefei.