Rescuers were today struggling to reach 45 miners trapped in two mines in the latest accidents to hit the industry in China, state media said.
A mine flood trapped 12 people in southern China's Hunan province today, just hours after an explosion trapped 33 in Henan province in the central part of the country, Xinhua New Agency said.
Nineteen miners escaped when a mine flooded near Zhuzhou city in Hunan, Xinhua said.
It added heavy rains were hampering the search for the missing miners. Forty-two miners were caught underground in Pingdingshan city of Henan province when the blast occurred and only nine managed to escape, Xinhua said.
It said police were searching for six people, including the mine boss and mine manager, who took off after the accident.
China's coal mines are the world's deadliest, with numerous fires, floods and other disasters occurring every year despite repeated government promises to improve safety.
The government says 4,750 people died in coal mine accidents last year - an average of 13 a day. It is common for mine owners to delay reporting accidents or not report them at all.