Rescuers carry out a miner from the Qianqiu colliery in Yima on November 5 2011.China has one of the world's deadliest records for miners.

Story highlights

State media: The explosion was caused by a gas leak

Hundreds of rescuers working to reach trapped mines

It is not immediately clear how many miners were working underground

CNN  — 

A gas leak triggered an underground explosion that killed 19 miners Thursday in southwest China, state media reported, the latest fatalities in the nation’s dangerous coal industry.

Twenty-four people are trapped underground after the coal mine accident in Qujing city, according to Xinhua news agency.

Rescue crews, including 30 firefighters and 300 medical workers, are working to reach the trapped miners, Xinhua said.

It was not immediately clear how many miners were working underground when the explosion occurred.

China, a large producer and consumer of coal, has one of the world’s deadliest records for miners.

Last week, a mine explosion killed eight workers in the central Chinese city of Sanmenxia.

News of the injury and deaths of miners appear regularly in state media, with safety conditions, a lack of training and the flouting of laws contributing to the high number of deaths.

One of China’s most dangerous year on record was 2002, with 6,995 deaths.