17 miners were trapped underground in a coal mine Thursday in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, said local media.
China’s state news agency reported Friday that the miners were trapped when a cage fell after its electric cables caught on fire and then snapped.
A total of 256 miners escaped the smoke-filled mine, while 17 others were trapped.
Chinese officials said rescue work is underway and medical staff has arrived at the scene.
An investigation of the accident is underway, the officials added.
Chinese mines are among the most dangerous in the world due to lax regulations and poor operating procedures.
In recent years, the country has produced more than one-third of the world's annual coal output, but accounted for more than two-thirds of global mining deaths annually, according to the Mining Technology journal.
By Tevfik Durul in Beijing, China