At least 18 people have died in a coal mine in Chongqing, southwestern China, as a result of a carbon monoxide leak, state media reported on Saturday.
Twenty-four miners were trapped underground at the Diaoshuidong Mine in Yunchuan District around 5:00 pm (9:00 am GMT) on Friday.
One of the survivors was successfully evacuated from the affected area, rescue operations continue, according to the official CCTV broadcaster.
Diaoshuidong is a high-gas mine with an annual production of 120,000 tons of coal, Xinhua reports.
Chinese mines are known as some of the most dangerous in the world. In the early 2000s, thousands of people died every year in accidents underground, paying with their lives for China's rapid economic growth.
According to the World Investment Report, in 2003, the death rate per million tons of coal mined in China was 130 times higher than in the United States and 250 times higher than in Australia.
According to the China Labor Bulletin, the number of accidents and deaths has steadily declined since then, mainly due to the closure of small mines and falling demand for coal.
The most recent deaths of miners in China were recorded in September, when sixteen people died from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Songzao coal mine, also in Chongqing. Death occurred after a conveyor belt fire. Only one miner was rescued.