Chinese state media reported that eleven miners who have been trapped in a gold mine for more than two weeks in eastern China have been rescued.
On January 10, an explosion in the city of Qixia, Shandong trapped 22 people underground. The first miner was rescued on Sunday morning at about 11:13 a.m. local time, and was in an extremely weak condition. One miner is believed to have died, while another sustained serious injuries.
Workers stuck 600 meters underground after the blast
After rescue workers drilled a channel into a section of the mine and installed a telephone line, authorities claimed that 10 people were stuck in the chamber 600 meters (1,969 feet) underground.
Efforts to reach the trapped workers has been underway since the blast occurred about 240 meters (800 feet) from the mine’s entrance, but Chinese officials said it could take 15 days to reach the trapped miners.
The Chinese state media also reported that food, medical supplies, blankets, and batches of nutrient solution were passed down a shaft to the 10 workers that were initially discovered.
Authorities are concerned about the safety of the uncontacted miners
Concern has been growing for the uncontacted miners. Indeed, some trapped workers are aiding rescuers to locate their missing colleagues by using laser pointers and loudspeakers, but they have received no response so far.
According to the state media, rescue teams are hoping to pull the miners out through a 711-millimeter (28-inch) diameter passage. On Thursday, rescuers had drilled 18 meters (59 feet) into the mine shaft.
Explosions and deaths are not uncommon to Chinese mines. In September last year, it was reported that at least 16 workers in southwestern China died after they became trapped underground in a coal mine. In 2016, dozens of workers were confirmed dead after a gas explosion at a coal mine in the city of Chongqing.