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All 33 miners trapped in China coal mine found dead

All 33 coal miners trapped underground by a gas explosion earlier this week have been found dead, state media reported on Wednesday, as work safety officials vowed to punish those responsible.

Two miners survived the explosion at the privately owned Jinshangou mine in Chongqing on Monday morning but rescuers working around the clock found no others alive. All the bodies have been recovered and rescuers were shown bowing their heads in memorial for the dead.

Gas explosions inside mines are often caused when a flame or electrical spark ignites gas leaking from the coal seam. Ventilation systems are supposed to prevent gas from becoming trapped.

13 killed, 20 missing after coal mine blast in southwestern China

The State Administration of Work Safety ordered an investigation into the blast, “adding that those responsible must be strictly punished”. Local officials in Chongqing also ordered smaller mines to shut down temporarily, Xinhua said.

China’s mining industry has long been among the world’s deadliest. The head of the State Administration of Work Safety said earlier this year that struggling coal mines might be likely to overlook maintenance.

Beijing juggles between cutting inefficient coal mining capacity and bad debt control

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal but plans to shutter more than 1,000 outdated mines as part of a broader plan to reduce overproduction.