Chinese rescue workers drilled into the ground to rescue 21 miners who were still trapped when the gold mine exploded. The miners have been trapped for nearly two weeks. One miner is confirmed dead and there are still no signs of life from the other trapped miners.
Launching from AFP on Thursday (21/1/2021), 22 miners were trapped in the Hushan underground mine, near the city of Qixia, Shandong province, East China. They were trapped after a mine explosion on January 10, thus closing entrances and cutting off communications.
Luckily, one of the miners was still contactable. Unfortunately, one miner was seriously injured in the initial explosion and was confirmed dead on Wednesday night (20/1/2021) local time.
Another miner is believed to have been trapped alone, some a hundred meters further down, but his condition is unknown as he has not yet been reached by the rescue team above. The second group of 11 miners could not be reached either, although rescue efforts are continuing.
“They have also lowered life detectors and nutrient solutions to other areas to find other miners who are missing. However the rescue team still has no signs of life,” Xinhua news agency reported.
Rescuers made contact on Sunday (17/1/2021) with the first group of 11 miners about 580 meters (1,900 feet) below the surface.
Emergency rescue teams have drilled two channels for delivering food and medicine and installed telephone lines while trying to expand the shaft to allow the miners to be rescued.
The workers said they were trapped by two underground explosions at the mine but details are still unconfirmed, the China Daily reported Thursday (21/1/2021).
There are plans to expand the drilling shaft enough to save the miners once drilling is complete.
“Rescue progress is slow as they are drilling granite,” local officials said, while extraction could be more complicated by the waterlogging conditions of the mine.
Rescuers lost a lot of time because the accident took more than a day to report.
Both the local Communist Party secretary and the mayor have been fired for not reporting immediately after 30 hours of the explosion. Officially an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the explosion.
Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and enforcement is often weak. Earlier, in December 2020, 23 workers died after being trapped in an underground mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing.