An explosion in an underground coal mine in Fuyuan County, Qujing, in the Yunnan province of south-west China has claimed 13 people.

The incident occurred in the early hours of 21 April, inside a shaft of the Hongtutian coal mine.

At the time of the accident, a total of 56 people were working in the mine and 42 escaped without injuries while one person is reported as missing, according to the China State Administration of Work Safety.

The privately-owned Hongtutian is properly licensed for operation, reports Xinhua, citing the Fuyuan county Government.

The cause of the explosion is as yet unknown and local authorities are carrying out an investigation.

This accident follows the floods earlier this month at the Xiahaizi coal mine in the Qilin district, which left 21 people dead.

Coal mine accidents killed 839 people in China over the first nine months of 2013, reported Bloomberg.

China aims to close around 1,000 small mines to improve safety and efficiency in its mining industry.