A gas explosion left 21 miners dead in a coal mine in the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua said Saturday, citing provincial emergency management services.

A total of 22 miners were trapped down a mineshaft after Friday's explosion, but only one could be rescued alive.

The explosion occurred in the Baiyanggou coal mine in Hutubi County, an area largely inhabited by the Muslim Hui people.

At the time of the accident, 34 miners were working below ground, though 12 managed to escape.

Chinese coal mines have more accidents than any in the world, and every year take the lives of some 3,000 workers, due to such factors as a lack of safety measures and the overworking of mines, in a country where coal continues to be the principal source of energy. EFE