Police say rescue workers have recovered the bodies of 16 miners buried after some 23 miners were trapped by a mound of fallen earth in eastern India.

R.K. Malik, the police spokesman for the state of Jharkhand, where the mine was located, said Saturday evening that hopes of finding any survivors among the remaining seven miners still missing were slipping.

The collapse happened late Thursday, but heavy smog prevented rescue workers from entering the open coal mine in Godda district until early Friday morning.

Godda district, where the mine is located, is around 1,570 kilometers (975 miles) southeast of New Delhi.

The coal mine is owned by the state government, but is leased to a private contractor.