|Photo taken on Sept. 25, 2012 shows the coal mine pit where a locomotive with 34 workers aboard its two carriages slipped down, in Baiyin, northwest China's Gansu Province. (Xinhua/Nie Jianjiang)
BAIYIN, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The death toll has climbed to 20 after two carriages carrying mine workers back to the ground crashed early Tuesday in a pit of northwest China's Gansu Province.
A steel cable pulling a locomotive that carried 34 miners in two carriages snapped shortly after midnight in a pit in Baiyin city near Lanzhou, the provincial administration of work safety said.
The two carriages slipped and overturned, sending all the workers aboard down into the pit, it said in a news update.
Rescuers had retrieved all the miners as of midday. Most of the 14 survivors were in hospital with injuries.
Company sources said the cable that snapped was replaced on July 29, but an initial investigation suggested the carriages were overloaded.
The coal mine, run by Qusheng Coal Mining Co., was operating illegally, as it was one of the 55 mines safety authorities had ordered to halt production for an industrial reshuffle.
The planned reshuffle was aimed at incorporating the 55 small mines into 10 larger ones.
The Qusheng pit began operation in 2003 and has a designed annual output of 90,000 tonnes.
In the wake of the accident, the provincial government of Gansu has demanded a temporary shutdown of all mines with annual output below 300,000 tonnes for a safety overhaul.