(Eds: updating with number of workers rescued) Beijing, Oct 21 (PTI) Two mine workers were killed, two have been rescued while 18 others remain trapped in a coal mine that was ripped through in a rock burst in east China’s Shandong Province, local officials said on Sunday.

The incident happened on Saturday night at the Longyun Coal Mining Company Ltd. in Yuncheng County in which part of a water drainage tunnel was destroyed, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

At the time of the accident, 334 people were working underground, of which 312 were later lifted to safety, Zhai Minghua, an expert with Shandong Energy Group Co. Ltd, which owns the coal mine, was quoted as saying in the report.

A total of 22 people are still trapped in the coal mine as the rescue work was under way.

More than 170 rescuers, including medical workers and firefighters have been dispatched to rescue the injured and search for the trapped miners.

Two miners were rescued on Sunday afternoon. They have been hospitalised.

Two other miners have been confirmed dead, Xinhua reported.

A total of 18 miners were still trapped in a tunnel which has been blocked by falling coal seam at the two ends, according to Pan Zhongmin, an official of the company, adding that rescuers are clearing the obstruction to reach the trapped.

The cause of the accident is being investigated.

In August, 13 miners were killed in a mine explosion in southern China.

Rock burst accidents are often caused by fractures in rocks due to mining. Though the number of deaths has reduced at coal mines in recent years, mining accidents are common in China, the world’s largest coal producer.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.