At least 9 killed, many trapped in Indian coal mine collapse

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - At least nine Indian miners were killed and nearly two dozen trapped when mine waste collapsed at a coalfield run by state-owned Coal India Limited, officials said on Friday, hitting production at one of the country's largest mines.

The accident occurred in Jharkhand state on Thursday evening at the Lalmatia mine owned by Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), a subsidiary of the world's largest miner.

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People gather near the site of a coal mine collapse near Lalmatia in Godda district, in eastern Jharkhand state on December 30, 2016. At least five workers were killed and scores more feared trapped on December 30 after a massive mound of earth caved in at a coal mine in eastern India. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather near the site of a coal mine collapse near Lalmatia in Godda district in eastern Jharkhand state on December 30, 2016. At least five workers were killed and scores more feared trapped on December 30 after a massive mound of earth caved in at a coal mine in eastern India. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather near the site of a coal mine collapse near Lalmatia in Godda district, in eastern Jharkhand state on December 30, 2016. At least five workers were killed and scores more feared trapped on December 30 after a massive mound of earth caved in at a coal mine in eastern India. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Huge coal mine collapses in India, trapping at least 30 people and killing at least five, officials say.… https://t.co/kXJvtxvXZx
India: Dozens feared trapped in Jharkhand coal mine collapse https://t.co/pQHkAMg25w https://t.co/5bVlJ1AYu9
Saddened by the loss of lives at a mine in Jharkhand. My prayers are with those trapped inside. Spoke to CM Raghubar Das on the situation.
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"So far, nine bodies have been recovered," R.R. Amitabh, a general manager at the ECL project office told Reuters. A rescue operation was underway and the exact number of people trapped had yet to ascertained, he said.

Coal India has a poor safety record, with 135 accidents reported last year, killing 37 people and injuring 141, the company said in a report, highlighting concern about working conditions.

Operations at the mine in Godda district, about 175 miles from the state capital, Ranchi, have been stopped, Amitabh said.

The mine has an annual capacity of 17 million tonnes and accounts for about half of ECL's coal production, he said. Last month, ECL accounted for about 9 percent of Coal India's total production of 50 million tonnes.

Mine waste piled up near the mine caved in, state police spokesman R.K. Mullick said.

"At that time, about 40 people were working in the mine and some of them managed to escape. Some of them have injuries," Mullick said.

Related: Chilean miners rescued after 69 days

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33 Chilean miners rescued after 69 days
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33 Chilean miners rescued after 69 days
A relative of a trapped miner awaits outside the San Esteban gold and copper mine, near the city of Copiapo, in the Atacama desert, 800 kilometers (480 miles) north of Santiago, on August 8, 2010. At least 34 miners were trapped inside the mine after a cave-in, authorities said, although their condition was unknown. (Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
COPIAPO, CHILE - OCTOBER 11: Chile's Mines Minister Laurence Golborne speaks to the press at the San Jose mine on October 11, 2010 in Copiapo, Chile. According to Chile's mining Minister Laurence Golborne, the rescue of the 33 miners trapped for more than two months nearly half a mile below ground is due to start this Wednesday, October 12, 2010. (Photo by Nicolas Torres/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Relatives of miner Carlos Barrios react while he is brought to surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile, on October 13, 2010. Pumping fists, or falling to their knees in prayer, nearly half the 33 miners trapped below ground in Chile for more than two months savored their first taste of freedom Wednesday, rising from the depths to a worldwide heroes' welcome. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Jorge Galleguillos (C) upon exiting the Fenix capsule after being brought to the surface in the eleventh place, on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. AFP PHOTO/ Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Mario Gomez waves upon exiting the Fenix capsule after being brought to the surface in the ninth place, on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. AFP PHOTO/ MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Franklin Lobos embraces his daughter after being brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. Chile. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be complete 'by the end of the day,' Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Wednesday about halfway through the dramatic operation. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Mario Sepulveda (C in beige and green suit) celebrates after being brought to the surface -- the second the be lifted from underground -- on October 13, 2010 after spending a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. (Photo by RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Raul Bustos (C) waves as he is transported on a stretcher after being brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. Chile. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be complete 'by the end of the day,' Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Wednesday about halfway through the dramatic operation. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Dario Segovia embraces a relative after being brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. Chile. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be complete 'by the end of the day,' Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Wednesday about halfway through the dramatic operation. AFP PHOTO/ Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Franklin Lobos embraces a rescue member as he exits the Fenix 2 capsule after being brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. Chile. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be complete 'by the end of the day,' Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Wednesday about halfway through the dramatic operation. Lobos is a former football player of the Chilean national team. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
The Fenix 2 capsule is brought to the surface with the last trapped Chilean miner Luis Urzua from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. Chile. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be complete 'by the end of the day,' Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Wednesday about halfway through the dramatic operation. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Juan Illanes celebrates after coming out of the Fenix capsule after being brought to the surface on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. Illanes was the third from 33 to be lifted from underground. Chilean President Sebastian Piñera smiles at right. (Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Ariel Ticona (C) exits the Fenix 2 capsule after being brought to the surface from the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. Chile. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile was successfully completed in some 22 and a half hours. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
Composite picture of the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine in Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. (L to R) Alex Vega, Ariel Ticona, Carlos Barrios, Carlos Bugueno, Carlos Mamani, Claudio Acuna, Claudio Yanez, Daniel Herrera, Dario Segovia, Edison Pena, Esteban Rojas, Florencio Avalos, Franklin Lobos, Jorge Galleguillos, Jose Henriquez, Jose Ojeda, Juan Aguilar, Juan Illanes, Jymmi Sanchez, Luis Urzua, Mario Gomez, Mario Sepulveda, Omar Reygada, Osman Araya, Pablo Rojas, Pedro Cortez, Raul Bustos, Renan Avalos, Richard Villarroel, Samuel Avalos, Victor Segovia, Victor Zamora and Yonni Barrios. Photo by AFP/Getty Images
Residents of Copiapo celebrate after the 33 miners were successfully rescued on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. AFP PHOTO/ Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate in Plaza Italia in Santiago after the last of the 33 miners was successfully rescued on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of the Chilean capital. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile was successfully completed in some 22 and a half hours. AFP PHOTO/JORGE AMENGUAL (Photo credit should read JORGE AMENGUAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Alfonso Avalos(R) father of Chilean miner Florencio Avalos and Wilson Avalos brother of Florencio embrace each other after Florencio was brought to the surface on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. Avalos was the first from 33 to be lifted from underground. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
COPIAPO, CHILE - OCTOBER 13: Relatives and friends of the 33 miners trapped on the San Jose Copper-Gold mine for the last two months celebrate after the rescue of the last worker on October 13, 2010 in Copiapo, Chile. All 33 miners who had been trapped in a Chilean mine for more than two months were rescued in a special capsule that brought them safely from 700 meters underground to the Atacama Desert surface. (Photo by Vicente Tapia/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Relatives of miner Renan Avalos celebrate after he was rescued from the San Jose mine, in Copiapo, Chile, on October 13, 2010. The rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile could be complete 'by the end of the day,' Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Wednesday about halfway through the dramatic operation. AFP PHOTO/Hector RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of trapped miners embrace US drill operator Matt Staffel (L) after the T-130 drill working to rescue the 33 miners finally reached their shelter in the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, Chile on October 9, 2010. After a record two months trapped underground in a collapsed mine, the miners appear to be just days from a miraculous rescue. (Photo by CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Claudio Yanez (C) - one of the 33 recently rescued from San Jose mine - arrives at the San Jose mine for a mass near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, on October 17, 2010. Almost all the miners have already been discharged from the hospital and must now adjust to their lives in the media glare after 69 days trapped deep in a gold and copper mine. AFP PHOTO/ Caludio SANTANA (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Pablo Rojas (L) - one of the 33 recently rescued from San Jose mine - arrives at the San Jose mine for a mass near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, on October 17, 2010. Almost all the miners have already been discharged from the hospital and must now adjust to their lives in the media glare after 69 days trapped deep in a gold and copper mine. AFP PHOTO/ Caludio SANTANA (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chilean miner Jorge Galleguillos (C) - one of the 33 recently rescued from San Jose mine - arrives at the San Jose mine for a mass near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, on October 17, 2010. Almost all the miners have already been discharged from the hospital and must now adjust to their lives in the media glare after 69 days trapped deep in a gold and copper mine. AFP PHOTO/ Caludio SANTANA (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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The operation of the mine had been outsourced to a private company, Mullick said.

The federal Coal Ministry has ordered an investigation.

With coal accounting for about 70 percent of India's power generation, the country is the world's third-biggest producer and importer of the fuel, and government wants to boost domestic output to cut imports.

Coal India, however, has failed to meet its output targets for years due to several reasons including strikes, accidents and protests.

(Writing by Malini Menon; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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