PATNA, India – An official said Friday that at least six workers have been killed and at least six others remain trapped in a coal mine in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.
S.K. Singh, the general manager of the Rajmahal Open Cast Mines, said the mine collapse took place late Thursday and that heavy smog prevented rescue workers from entering the mine until early Friday morning.
Indian media reports say that as many as 40 workers could be trapped in the mine but Singh said that only 10 mining vehicles entered the mine and company safety rules call for only for one worker per vehicle. The area is more than 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. Few other details were immediately available.
Jharkhand is one of India's poorest states but is rich in mineral resources. It has the third-highest coal deposits of India's 29 states and the country's highest deposits of iron ore. Mining and related industries are the state's economic backbone.