Rescue underway for 33 coal miners in China who were trapped after a huge gas explosion

Thirty-three miners were trapped in a coal mine in Chongqing, China, after a gas explosion, Chinese state media CCTV reported. Rescue workers have retrieved 18 bodies thus far, yet the fate of the remaining 18 miners remains unknown, according to a CCTV tweet at 9:19 a.m. EST.  

Thirty-five people were working in the mine in southeast China at the time of the blast, but two were able to break free. 

The blast, which occurred in the mine's shaft, initially left the 33 remaining miners sequestered for hours — their condition was unknown to local officials. 

Rescue efforts are ongoing in an attempt to find or save the 18 people who are still trapped in the mine. 

Mining in China has remained a contentious issue for multifarious reasons, from environmental degradation to unsafe working conditions to not paying workers

This story is breaking and will be updated