At least 20 miners died and 14 were injured on Tuesday after two overloaded carriages crashed underground at an illegally run coal mine in the north-western Chinese province of Gansu, dpa reported.
The carriages were carrying 34 miners when they slipped and overturned after a cable pulling them snapped at the mine run by the Qusheng Coal Mining Company in Gansu's Baiyin city, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Rescuers had pulled all 34 miners out of the mine and local hospitals were treating most of the 14 survivors for unspecified injuries, the agency said.
It quoted local officials as saying an "initial investigation suggested the carriages were overloaded" and that the broken cable had been replaced on July 29.
The mine was also "operating illegally," as it was one of 55 mines that safety officials had ordered to halt production pending a reorganisation into 10 larger coal mines, the agency said.
The Qusheng mine opened in 2003, with a designed annual production of 90,000 tons of coal.
Following Tuesday's accident, provincial safety officials ordered all coal mines with annual productions of under 300,000 tons to suspend operations, it said.