CHANGSHA, China, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Five people choked to death on poisonous gases in an underground pyrite mine Monday in China's central Hunan province, authorities said.
One of three people who entered the mine to check its ventilation system escaped after feeling ill. The other two, and three rescuers, died, said a statement from Yiyang Shengyuan Mining Co. Ltd., which owns the mine.
The mine, producing pyrite, or iron sulfide, was ordered to suspend operations in March and received a permit to resume production in September. It was inoperative at the time of the fatalities due to the need to obtain additional licenses from local firefighting, work safety and police authorities, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.