Trapped Chinese miners continue to communicate with rescue teams
The 11 miners trapped in a Chinese gold mine after an explosion blocked entrance to the mine remain in communication with rescue teams on the surface. The miners have been able to communicate via a new telephone line.
According to reports from the BBC and local media in China, the miners are in good spirits, are grateful for nutritional liquids and medicine delivered to them via a long thin communication tunnel and have requested some pork sausages.
Rescuers had initially lowered rations on a cable, and received back a note saying, "Don't stop trying to reach us."
Eleven other miners remain missing in the gold mine, their fate unclear.
The 22 men were trapped at the Hushan Mine near Yantai in eastern Shandong province on Jan. 10 when an explosion damaged the exit and the communications system of the mine, which was still under construction. The cause of the explosion is not known.
Signs of life from the group of 11 were detected a week after the blast, about 540 m (1,700 ft) underground, when rescuers felt a pull on a rope they had lowered from the surface.
According to Chinese media, one of them is in a coma but the others appear to be in good health.
They reported that they had been able to communicate with a colleague trapped 50 m (160 ft) below them, but that the contact had since been lost.
The rescuers managed to make contact with the miners through a long thin communication shaft they had drilled from the surface and retrieved a note from deep underground.
Chen Fei, the deputy secretary of Shandong's Yantai city, said phone conversations had established that the miners were "very weak" and that shafts were being opened up with their location.
“After we opened up the third shaft, it had a really excitable effect on the people connected. They were very confident and very hopeful that they would soon be able to get out of the mine,” he told a news conference on Monday.
“We established they needed emergency medicines and equipment.”
As well as painkillers, the miners reportedly asked for anti-inflammatory drugs and medical tape for the injured. They later thanked rescuers for the medicines and nutritional food, sparking hope of a positive outcome.
It took more than a day for the accident to be reported, meaning rescue teams lost precious time to start their attempt to reach the miners. The local Communist Party secretary and mayor were sacked because of the 30-hour delay.
Photo credit: Xinhua via AP