After resuming rescue operations on Thursday, the death toll at the site of a collapsed coal mine in China.
More than 50 people were trapped when rocks at the coal mine started slipping and led to a collapse. As many as 49 people are still missing and six are injured, state media reported.
Search and rescue efforts had been suspended at the coal mine in China’s Inner Mongolia region after a massive landslide occurred at another site, according to state media reports.
The open-pit coal mine, operated by Xinjing Coal Mining Co, had collapsed in the afternoon on Wednesday.
“I had just started work when I saw slag falling down the slope. The situation got worse and worse,” a rescued worker named Ma Jianping told CCTV.
Rescue operations underway
President Xi Jinping had ordered search and rescue efforts after the collapse on Wednesday, state media reported.
“We must make every possible effort to rescue the missing persons and treat the injured,” Xi said.
Before the landslide, four rescue teams of 109 people were searching for the trapped miners, according to state media.
As many as 300 firefighters, 60 fire trucks, six rescue dogs and more teams of about 200 people have been sent to the site, state media said.
“At 6:44 pm (on Wednesday), another large landslide occurred, and the rescue was forced to be interrupted,” Wei Zhiguo, who is leading the rescue operations, told state broadcaster CCTV.
China relies heavily on coal to meet its energy requirements, however, the country’s coal mines are among the deadliest in the world.
Inner Mongolia is among the top coal-producing regions in China. Following calls from the government, mines are trying to amp up their output.
Over the years, safety at mines has improved in China but accidents still occur frequently mostly because safety regulations are not implemented properly.