The accident occurred at the Basundhara mine at Kulda in Sundergarh district, about 450 km from Bhubaneswar, when about 15-20 villagers were collecting coal shell from the dump illegally, company spokesman Dikken Mehra said.

"Repeatedly we have been warning them not to do so it because it is dangerous. Despite that people were collecting the coal shells," he said.

Of the nine people taken out so far, five people had died while two succumbed on their way to local hospital. Operations were on to locate others who were trapped, District Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia said.

(Agencies)

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