At least 18 Chinese miners were killed in an underground gas leak

Eighteen people have died after being trapped in a mine in China’s southwestern city of Chongqing, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, the region’s second such accident in just over two months.

The dead were among 24 people caught underground by excessive levels of carbon monoxide gas at the Diaoshuidong coal mine, the agency said, adding that a survivor had been rescued while the search continued.

Friday’s incident, which occurred at 5pm (0900 GMT) in a mine that has been closed for more than two months while the company dismantled underground equipment, is being investigated, it added.

China’s mines are among the deadliest in the world, with 16 deaths reported in late September following high levels of carbon monoxide trapped by miners at the Songzao coal mine in Chongqing.

Diaoshuidong, built in 1975 and operated since 1998 as a private company, is a chopping gas mine with an annual capacity of 120,000 tons of coal, Xinhua said.

In 2013, three people were killed and two were injured in a hydrogen sulfide poisoning in the mine, it added.