BEIJING, CHINA — At least two people have died and more than 50 are missing after a coal mine collapsed in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region on Wednesday, state media reported.
The collapse occurred in Alxa League in the western part of the region at around 1 pm (0500 GMT), according to state broadcaster CCTV.
“Currently, the incident has caused the deaths of two people and injured six, with 53 missing,” CCTV said in a social media post.
Earlier Wednesday, CCTV reported that a collapse had occurred over a “wide area” of an open-pit mine operated by the Xinjing Coal Mining Company.
“A number of working staff and vehicles have been buried,” the broadcaster said at the time, adding that rescue personnel have been dispatched to the scene.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed authorities to “do everything possible to search for and rescue the missing people”, CCTV reported.
Officials must “use all their strength to rescue and treat the injured, protect the security of people’s lives and property as well as overall social stability”, Xi said, according to the broadcaster.
Eight rescue teams comprising more than 330 personnel have been dispatched to the site, along with over 100 pieces of rescue equipment, state-affiliated outlet The Paper reported.
Phone calls to the mining company by AFP went unanswered on Wednesday evening.
Mine safety in China has improved in recent decades, as has media coverage of major incidents, many of which were once overlooked.
But accidents still occur frequently in an industry where safety protocols are often lax, especially at the most rudimentary sites.
Some 40 people were working underground when a gold mine in the northwestern Xinjiang region collapsed in December.
In 2021, 20 miners were rescued from a flooded coal mine in northern Shanxi province while two others died.