An explosion killed at least 70 people and trapped a further 26 in a coal mine in the northern province of Shanxi, AFP reported. The State Administration of Mine Safety (SAMS) said the blast occurred just after midnight on Thursday at Ruizhiyuan mine near the city of Linfen. By late Thursday evening, 70 bodies had been retrieved while 15 people had escaped or been rescued, according to state media. A spokeswoman for SAMS said the 26 people still trapped inside the mine included a number of rescue workers who had rushed in to help. Other news sources speculated that the cause of the blast was mine operators illegally running the mine at overcapacity. State media have confirmed that the mine was operating in an unauthorized area and two senior officials have been arrested.