Eighteen miners have died following a gas leak explosion in a mine shaft in China's central Hunan province. State media has reported that police detained an unspecified number of suspects pending an investigation.
The gas leak happened on Sunday morning in a mine shaft located in Hunan's Youxian district.
Although 18 people died in the incident, rescuers still managed to bring 37 miners to safety.
According to China's state-run news agency Xinhua, authorities detained an unspecified number of people as part of an investigation into the incident.
China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, but its mining industry is also renowned for being one of the world's deadliest.
China's deadly mining industry
While China's government has tried to raise industry standards by ordering the shuttering of older, smaller mines, accidents are still common and hundreds of miners continue to die while on the job.
The last major incident, in March, saw 17 coal miners killed when an elevator fell down a mine shaft in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province.
Last December, at least 59 people died following explosions in two separate coal mines, one in the Inner Mongolia region and the other also in Heilongjiang. In October, 33 miners were killed in a colliery explosion in southwestern Chongqing.
According to the most recent official figures, 768 people died in coal mining accidents in 2015 – a tragically large number but markedly fewer than the nearly 6,000 deaths reported in 2005.
dm/jm (AP, AFP)