Updated: 04/19/2014 11:49 | By Agence France-Presse

China coal mine death toll rises to 20

The death toll from a flooded coal mine in southwest China has risen to 20 with the recovery of another 14 bodies nearly two weeks after the accident, state media reported.

China coal mine death toll rises to 20

Rescuers bring a hose into the shaft in attempt to save the 22 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine, in Qujing, southwestern China's Yunnan province, on April 7, 2014 - by -

Mining accidents are common in China, the world's largest consumer of coal, where mine operators often skirt safety regulations.

The Xiahaizi mine in Yunnan province suddenly filled with water early on April 7 following an explosion, leaving 22 miners trapped.

Two miners remain missing following the recovery of a total of 20 bodies so far, Xinhua news agency said late Friday. 

The complicated layout of the mine and its narrow tunnels have made the search difficult, it added.

Police have detained seven people linked to the mine in Qujing city, including officials and shareholders of operator Li Ming Industrial Co., the report said.

Last year, China recorded 589 mining-related accidents, leaving 1,049 people dead or missing, according to the government. But both the number of accidents and fatalities were down more than 24 percent from 2012. 

Authorities have sought to shut small mines, a major source of accidents, in an effort to consolidate the industry.

In December last year, an explosion killed 21 workers at a coal mine in China's western Xinjiang region, one of a series of such accidents in recent years.

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