The owner of a mine in east China in which 17 people remain trapped drowned Sunday after jumping into a well during rescue efforts in an apparent suicide.
State news agency Xinhua reported that Ma Congbo, chairman of Yurong company, leapt into the water while working with rescuers around 2 a.m. (1800GMT Saturday).
Of the 29 miners who were reportedly working when the gypsum mine collapsed in Shandong province Friday morning, one has died, four escaped and seven others have been rescued.
Xinhua reported that more than 700 rescuers are trying to rescue the 17 workers still trapped underground, but efforts are being hampered by falling rocks and the persistent distortion of damaged shafts.
The cause of the collapse is still unclear and remains under investigation, while the provincial government has ordered gypsum mines to suspend operations for safety checks.
Chinese mines are among some of the deadliest in the world due to lax regulations and poor operating procedures.