Miners saved after eight days underground
Two miners were rescued yesterday eight days after they were trapped by the collapse of a mine in the southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, state-run news agency Xinhua reported, quoting rescuers.
Eight miners were killed and 12 still missing after the coal mine collapsed on July 2 following several days of heavy rain. Forty-nine of the 71 miners underground at the time of the collapse at the Guangxi Heshan Coal Mining Company managed to escape, Xinhua said.
The agency quoted Ye Fangyong, deputy commander of the rescue headquarters, as saying the survivors were found in a ventilation shaft 320 metres below the surface, 188 hours after they had been trapped. The shaft was filled with sludge after the collapse, but the miners still had access to fresh air.
The rescuers said that they heard faint sounds from the trapped miners at 3am, but could not figure out how the sounds were being made.
Rescuers were saddened to find four bodies along with the two rescued men. The chances of finding more survivors appeared to be bleak, but, Ye said, the rescuers weren't giving up. There was a still a chance that three of the missing miners, who were trapped 390 metres underground, could still be alive as that section had breathable air.
The local government has offered rescuers a reward of two million yuan (HK$2.41 million) for each miner they recover alive.
Xinhua quoted Yang Yaodong, director of the Guangxi Heshan colliery, as pledging that the company would do its utmost to rescue the trapped workers.
The two rescued miners were identified as 41-year-old Liu Jiagan and 35-year-old Qin Hongdang. They were in a stable condition last night.
Before they were rushed to Heshan People's Hospital for treatment, the two miners told their rescuers that they had survived by drinking water that had seeped down through the top of the shaft.
The rescue recalled the one last year at the Wangjialing colliery in northern Shanxi province, where 115 workers were pulled out of the flooded coal mine alive after being trapped for 179 hours.