BEIJING, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A coal mine in southwest China's Guizhou province flooded, trapping eight miners, the latest in a number of mine disasters in the country.
The official Xinhua news agency, quoting local safety authorities, said 41 miners were working underground in the Guba coal mine in the province's Fuqua city when it flooded late Tuesday night. The report said 33 miners managed to escape, but eight others could not.
Rescue efforts were under way.
In other recent coal mine disasters, a gas and coal burst last Sunday struck a mine in Wanyuan city in southwestern Sichuan province, trapping 11 miners. Rescue work had been continuing but latest updates on them were not immediately available.
In the biggest mine disaster so far this year, which occurred also in Sichuan province, a gas explosion Aug. 29 in the Xiaojiawan Coal Mine in Panzhihua city killed 45 miners, the official media reported. Another 54 workers were injured, 17 of them seriously.
Police arrested the owners of the mine and China's safety watchdog later blamed poor management for the incident.
Coal mine accidents in China take a heavy toll every year despite stringent safety regulations. Official figures showed gas explosions alone were responsible for 41 coal mine accidents this year as of July, resulting in the deaths of 149 miners. Other mine accidents have claimed dozens more lives.
Authorities have begun to take more stringent steps to improve safety.
Among them, China Daily reported, more small coal mining companies with poor safety facilities will be merged with large ones with better safety equipment.
Hundreds of illegal mines also have been shut down.