Beijing : At least 38 workers have died in two separate coal mine explosions in China this week, officials said today.
In the latest incident, 17 people were confirmed dead and many others remained trapped after a blast at a coal mine in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region today, officials said.
The explosion took place around midday at Baoma Mining Co Ltd in Yuanbaoshan district in the city of Chifeng, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The government has launched a search and rescue operation.
In another incident, 21 workers trapped in a coal mine in China after an explosion on Tuesday were today declared dead while search is on for one survivor still trapped underground.
They had been declared dead, Xinhua quoted local officials as saying.
The workers were trapped after an explosion on Tuesday at the private coal mine in Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang province.
State-run CCTV reported the workers could not be reached by rescuers due to presence of poisonous gases even as insurance firms began contacting the families of the workers to settle claims.
Meanwhile, Chinese police today arrested four persons, including the owner of the private coal mine and three managers, the emergency rescue headquarters said.
Initial enquiries showed that the blast was an accident and the mine was unlicensed, police said.