A Chinese coal miner stands in a sorting area at a mine on November 25, 2015 in Shanxi, China. Photograph: (Getty)
At least two miners have managed to escape to safety; rescue workers are looking for 18 people still missing
Fifteen miners were confirmed dead and 18 missing in a coal mine explosion in southwest China on Monday, state media reported.
More than 200 rescue workers - firefighters, armed police and mine experts - are searching shafts at the Jinshangou mine in Laisu town of the Chongqing Municipality's Yongchuan district, Xinhua news agency reported.
An AFP report said that 35 miners were working underground when the gas explosion ripped through the mine with two miners managing to escape.
China is the world's largest coal producer and deadly accidents are common.
ll coal mines in the municipality have been ordered to stop production for safety checks following the blast at the privately-owned mine in September that killed at least 18 in the northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Officials claim that the number of people dying annually in the country's mines has fallen substantially in the past decade, to fewer than 1,000 a year, AFP reported.
Rights groups, however, argue that the actual figures are significantly higher due to under-reporting.
(WION with inputs from AFP)