China Mine Tragedy

Delayed but not defeated, Chinese rescuers fight the odds to rescue miners

Rescue Operation delayed by dire conditions

Chinese rescue teams say it might be more than two weeks until they can save a group of miners trapped hundreds of metres underground.

They have been trapped since an explosion closed the entrance tunnel to the Hushan gold mine in Shandong province on 10 January.

Authorities made contact with 11 surviving miners a week after the blast, but one has since died.

Rescuers have drilled small holes to supply food and medicine to the men.

The cause of the explosion that sealed the mine entrance is still not known.

The fate of another 11 miners trapped by the blast is unclear – authorities have been unable to communicate with them despite lowering food and messages into other areas of the mine.

The group discovered alive told rescuers they had established communication with a lone miner about 100m below them, but had since lost touch with him.

The Associated Press has reported that it will take at least 15 more days to get through a massive amount of debris and reach miners who have already been trapped for 11 days since an explosion in a gold mine in eastern China, authorities said Thursday.

“Based on expert evaluations, the extent of the blockage is well out of expectation,” the statement said.

One worker has died from head injuries in the explosion, state media said earlier on Thursday. Of the remaining 21, rescuers have established contact with 10, one is reportedly alive in a nearby chamber, and the status of the other 10 is unknown.

The deceased worker had been in a coma, and two others are said to be in poor health. Rescuers have delivered food, medicine and other supplies to the group of 11 as they work to remove debris and improve ventilation.

The state media reports said exhaustion has set in among some of the workers since the January 10 explosion ripped through the mine that was under construction in Qixia, a jurisdiction under Yantai in Shandong province.

Rescuers were attempting to clear cages and other debris blocking the main shaft while drilling other shafts for communication, ventilation and possibly to lift workers to the surface. Boring has reached depths of around 2,000 feet, the reports said.

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