At least 38 workers have died in two separate coal mine explosions in China this week, said officials on Saturday.
In the latest incident, 17 people were confirmed dead andmany others remained trapped after a blast at a coal mine in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Saturday, officials said.
The explosion took place around midday at Baoma Mining Co Ltd in Yuanbaoshan district in the city of Chifeng, state-runXinhua 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 on Saturday declared deadwhile search is on for one survivor still trapped underground.
They had been declared dead, Xinhua quoted local officialsas saying. The workers were trapped after an explosion on Tuesday atthe private coal mine in Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang province.
State-run CCTV reported the workers could not be reachedby rescuers due to presence of poisonous gases even asinsurance firms began contacting the families of the workersto settle claims.
Meanwhile, Chinese police on Saturday arrested four persons,including the owner of the private coal mine and threemanagers, the emergency rescue headquarters said. Initial enquiries showed that the blast was an accidentand the mine was unlicensed, police said.