China rescues 11 miners after 14 days trapped underground: state media
Chinese rescuers pulled 11 gold miners to safety on Sunday, 14 days after they were trapped by an underground explosion, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Footage showed the first miner to be rescued, a black blindfold across his eyes, being lifted out of a mine shaft in the morning.
The miner was extremely weak, CCTV said on its Weibo site. Rescue workers wrapped the barely responsive man in a blanket before taking him to hospital by ambulance.
Over the next few hours, 10 miners from a different section of the mine, who had been receiving food and supplies from rescue workers last week, were brought out in batches.
One was injured but several of the others were shown walking, supported by rescue workers and wearing black cloth over their eyes, before leaving the site in ambulances..
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Rescuers have been battling difficult conditions to help the workers since an underground explosion at the Hushan mine in Shandong province sealed them underground amid rising waters on January 10.
State broadcaster footage showed a small elevator carriage lifted to the surface by a huge drill, accompanied by rescue workers. A masked man, who appeared unable to stand, was carried out.
Contact was first established a week ago with a group of 11 miners trapped in a section of the mine around 580 meters (1,900 feet) below the surface.
One of them was seriously injured in the initial explosion and has been confirmed dead after suffering head injuries and falling into a coma.
Rescue teams have been lowering food, medicine and other supplies through several “lifeline” shafts drilled into the rock. Life detectors and nutrient solutions have been lowered to other parts of the mine to find the other missing miners.
State media footage on Sunday showed several tall drills boring down.
A twelfth miner is believed to be trapped on his own, 100 meters further down in rising waters.
For the other nine miners, hopes are dwindling as they have not been heard from since the explosion.
Rescue workers said Friday it could take at least another two weeks to free the miners, citing a massive blockage that has delayed drilling efforts, according to state media.
Rescuers are trying to widen one of the shafts to eventually allow the workers to be brought up to the surface.
Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.
In December, 23 workers died after becoming stuck underground in the southwestern city of Chongqing.
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