China rescues first of 22 trapped miners from Shandong gold mine | China News

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State media says the rescued miner was ‘in extremely weak physical condition’ after 14 days trapped below ground.

The first of 22 people trapped in a gold mine in northern China has been lifted out, state media said, 14 days after becoming trapped below the ground following an explosion.

The man, discovered on Sunday, was in “extremely weak physical condition”, CCTV said. He was in a separate section of the mine from the 10 workers who had already established contact with rescuers.

Rescuers have been battling difficult conditions to help the 22 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 lift 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 approximately 580 metres (1,900 feet) below the surface.

Medical workers in protective suits wait to collect swabs from rescue workers for nucleic acid testing following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Hushan gold mine [Aly Song/Reuters]

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.

The rescued miner was found in a section closer to the surface than the section where the first group are located, CCTV reported.

A 12th miner is believed to be trapped on his own, 100 metres (328 feet) 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 on Friday that 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.

The 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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