World Bulletin / News Desk
State news agency Xinhua reported that teams working to rescue those trapped in Monday’s blast found the bodies of the last 15 miners who remained missing early Wednesday morning in Chongqing Municipality.
Of the 35 miners who had been working underground at the time of the accident, only two managed to escape.
An investigation supervised by the State Administration of Work Safety is underway to determine the cause of the explosion.
Preliminary investigations indicate that “the mine exceeded its mining boundaries, had insufficient and malfunctioning equipment, poor ventilation and disorderly management,” according to Xinhua.
Luo Qingquan, head of the Yongchuan district government, said Tuesday that police were investigating “possible misconduct” by the mine's management.
Chinese mines are among some of the most dangerous in the world due to lax regulations and poor operating procedures.
In recent years, the country has produced more than one-third of the world's annual coal output, but accounted for more than two-thirds of global mining deaths annually, according to the Mining Technology journal.
Last month, a gas explosion at a coal mine in northwest Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region left 18 people dead and two others missing.
In February, a gas leak at a coal mine in northeast Jilin Province left 12 miners dead, and in March 19 people died after a coal mine collapsed in northern Shanxi province while 129 workers were working underground.