Five miners killed by toxic gas in Chinese copper mine

Five miners have been killed by toxic gas after breaching the sealed shaft of a copper mine in the Chinese province of Shaanxi.

The People's Daily reports that local authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the miners died during an accident which occurred around 3.40 pm on Tuesday in Lueyang county at a mine owned by Dadi Mining Company.

The accident began when a worker named Feng entered a shaft which had been sealed half a year ago to fetch clothes he had left there previously.

Three of Feng's colleagues followed their co-worker into the shaft after he failed to emerge. They were subsequently followed by two other workers who attempted to rescue them but were also trapped in the shaft.

Five of the six workers who entered the sealed shaft later died in hospital.

Operation of the mine has been suspended for safety inspections and local authorities are mounting further investigations.