27 Jul 2012

Group trapped while trying to rescue miners

8:51 am on 27 July 2012

Fifty-three rescuers sent in to recover five coal miners in southwest China have had to be pulled to safety after they too became trapped.

The rescue team went in to the Anlilai Coal Mine on Thursdayto dig a tunnel but ended up being stuck for six hours.

The first tunnel collapsed on Wednesday, trapping the first group of miners who have now been underground for 32 hours.

The Xinhua news agency says an investigation is underway into the cause of both accidents.

Accidents in China's mines occur frequently and the latest official figures show 1973 people died in coal mining accidents there last year, AFP reports.

That figure was a 19% drop on the previous year.