Rescuers save 23 workers trapped in China mine, 11 others dead

Nine other workers injured in Tuesday's blast at the iron ore mine, and two are missing

In this Tuesday, June 5, 2018 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, rescuers work above ground at the site of a mine explosion in Benxi in northeastern China's Liaoning Province. Rescuers pulled 23 miners to safety after a blast at an iron mine in northeast China trapped them underground and killed about a dozen others, the government said Wednesday. (Pan Yulong/Xinhua via AP)
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Rescuers pulled 23 workers out of a mine in north-east China on Wednesday, hours after they were trapped underground by an explosion that killed 11 and left two others missing, state media reported.

Nine other workers were injured in Tuesday's blast at the iron ore mine owned by Huamei Group, a subsidiary of China National Coal Group, in Benxi, Liaoning province.

The blast took place when miners were dropping explosives down the one-kilometre-deep mine shaft, destroying the pit's hoisting system, according to Xinhua.

State broadcaster CCTV had earlier reported that a lorry carrying explosives had blown up near the mine's entrance as workers were drilling a shaft.

Six miners were lifted out of the shaft at 5.20am on Wednesday and 17 others were pulled up about two hours later, according to Xinhua. All were in good condition.

Authorities were still searching for the two missing miners.

The mine's electricity, ventilation systems and hoisting system were brought back online, Xinhua said.

Deadly mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record.

A gas leak killed at least 18 people working in a coal mine in central Hunan province in May last year.

In December 2016, explosions in two separate coal mines in the Inner Mongolia region and in Heilongjiang killed at least 59 people.

Earlier that year, 33 miners were killed in a colliery explosion in October in the south-western municipality of Chongqing, and in September at least 18 were killed in a mine blast in the north-western Ningxia region.

In another incident that captivated the country's attention, four miners were rescued in January 2016 after they spent 36 days trapped in a collapsed gypsum mine in eastern Shandong province.

The incident drew comparisons to a 2010 mining accident in Chile, in which 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days before their rescue.