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First of 22 Chinese miners trapped in gold mine rescued

First of 22 Chinese miners trapped in gold mine rescued China rescues nine miners after 14 days trapped underground - CCTV
Deanna Wagner | 24 January, 2021, 15:43

Efforts to save 22 miners trapped hundreds of metres underground for two weeks in east China have sped up dramatically, as rescue workers lifted out seven people on Sunday and hope to reach more, state media reported.

The workers were trapped in the mine when an explosion ripped through on January 10 while it was still under construction.

Later footage showed emergency workers lifting out the trapped miners who wore black masks "to protect their eyes", CCTV reported. State broadcaster CCTV said he was sent to hospital.

Mr Du said it was not yet known when rescuers would be able "to reach the Sixth Central Section [of the mine] where the missing miners are believed to be".

The 10 rescued miners were in good physical condition and had been receiving food since Saturday after several days of living off nutrient solutions.

"The second batch of trapped miners were lifted out at 1.32pm - they were three of the ten workers trapped in the fifth middle section whom (rescuers) already contacted".

Rescue teams have been lowering food, medicine and other supplies through several "lifeline" shafts drilled into the rock. The fate and whereabouts of the other 10 is unknown.

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

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How have the miners survived this long?

One worker was reported to have died from a head wound following the explosion that deposited massive amounts of rubble in the shaft on January 10 while the mine was still under construction.

The entry into the mine was severely damaged and communication was cut off by unexplained explosion.

For up to a week, there was no sign of life.

One of them was seriously injured in the initial explosion and has been confirmed dead after suffering head injuries and falling into a coma.

They received porridge and nutritional liquids, and a few days before their rescue, the miners requested a traditional meal of sausages.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced. A new crackdown was ordered after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing previous year killed 39 miners.

In September, 16 workers were killed at another mine on the outskirts of Chongqing, also due to carbon monoxide.