Rescuers work at Jinshangou Coal Mine in Yongchuan District of Chongqing, southwest China, Nov. 1, 2016. Eighteen miners have been confirmed dead after an explosion at the coal mine in Chongqing Monday morning. (Xinhua/Liu Chan)
CHONGQING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The bodies of 18 miners had been recovered as of Tuesday afternoon after an explosion at a coal mine in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality Monday morning.
Fifteen miners remain missing and rescue work is still underway.
Altogether 35 workers were in the pit when the accident happened. Two escaped unharmed, leaving 33 trapped in a pit at Jinshangou Coal Mine, Yongchuan District at 11:33 a.m. Monday.
The police are looking into possible misconduct by the mine's management team, according to Luo Qingquan, head of the district government.
More than 400 rescuers worked through the night, digging carefully through debris from the collapse to avoid secondary disasters. At least 20 ambulances and dozens of medical workers are standing by.
When the explosion occurred, Tao Puzhang, 60, working on his land about 500 meters from the mine, heard a bang and felt the ground shake under his feet.
Liu Fuxiu, a winch operator with the mine, working 40 meters from the entrance to the pit, was knocked off her feet by the blast and received injuries to her face and back. "My injuries are nothing," she said while responding to investigators. "I have a relative down the pit and I hope he is still alive."
Following the explosion, Chongqing has ordered a safety overhaul and temporarily closed all collieries with less than 90,000 tonnes of annual output.
The Jinshangou mine has a designed annual output of 60,000 tonnes, according to its license.