There are 23 workers now dead after a carbon monoxide leak at a coal operation in southwest China.

The incident at the Diaoshuidong coal mine in Chongqing occurred Friday 11 December. A total of 24 people were trapped at about 5 p.m. local time from high levels of the gas, though no further details were released.

The mine had been suspended and shut down for the last two months. Workers were inside to dismantle equipment.

Just one survivor was pulled from the mine.

Regional news outlet Xinhua reported that investigators are working to determine the cause of the accident. China's Ministry of Emergency Management, Xinhua said, had ordered local authorities Sunday to "resolutely take decisive measures to effectively stop major accidents in coal mines from happening" in the country, which is considered the top producer and consumer of coal.

Diaoshuidong was built in 1975; since 1998, it has operated as a private enterprise and produced about 120,000 tonnes yearly. Three workers were killed at the operation in 2013 after a hydrogen sulfide poisoning incident.

The event is just three months from a September incident at the Songzao coal mine that left 16 dead under similar circumstances.


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