21 Nov 2015

Fire in mine in north-eastern China kills 21 people

11:03 pm on 21 November 2015

A fire at a mine in north-eastern China has killed 21 people, and one person is still missing, state media report.

The fire began on Friday at the coal mine run by a state-owned company in Jixi City, Heilongjiang province, Xinhua news agency says.

It earlier reported that 22 people were trapped underground. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

China has the world's deadliest mines, with hundreds of mine workers killed in accidents every year.

But the country's safety record has shown signs of improvement in recent years as the authorities enforce a strict compliance with safety laws and procedures.

A total of 38 miners were underground when the blaze started, but 16 of them managed to escape, Xinhua says.

The authorities say the fire is now under control.

Last year, 24 people were killed and 54 injured an underground fire at a mine in China's north-eastern Liaoning province.