BEIJING (AFP) – Twenty-three miners have been confirmed dead after an accident at a coal mine in southern China, state media reported, with only one person rescued.

carbon monoxide leak on Friday evening (Dec 4) at the Diaoshuidong mine in the city of Chongqing left 18 miners confirmed dead the next day as rescue efforts continued.

But state media said Sunday that the toll had risen to 23 with only one survivor.

The accident occurred while workers were dismantling underground mining equipment following the mine’s closure two months ago, state news agency Xinhua said.

Xinhua added that investigators were working to determine the cause of the tragedy.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.

An earlier accident at the same mine claimed the lives of three people in 2013, according to Xinhua.

Sixteen workers were killed at another mine on the outskirts of Chongqing in September after a conveyor belt caught fire and the blaze produced dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Two years ago, seven miners were killed in the city after the connecting segment of a skip broke and fell down a shaft.

In October 2018, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping the workers. Only one miner was rescued alive.

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