At least 12 workers alive after China mine blast

Grant Boone
January 19, 2021

On Sunday, rescuers managed to drill down into the mine and said they heard "knocking sounds".

Rescue efforts have been underway since the blast occurred about 200m from the mine's entrance, trapping 22 workers around 600m below ground, the agency reported.

Chinese authorities are rushing to rescue 22 workers trapped underground after an explosion at a mine in the coastal province of Shandong.

Workers passed a note to the surface on Monday saying they were suffering from toxic fumes and rising water levels but calling on rescuers not to give up.

"We are in urgent need of medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure", the note read.

Several of the miners were injured, the note said.

Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed dozens of rescuers clearing the main return shaft, while cranes and a massive bore-hole drill was used to dig new rescue channels to reach the trapped miners.

Hopes of a miracle rescue after a days-long ordeal triggered an outpouring of sympathy and encouragement on Chinese social media.

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One of the rescue workers said they were now racing to get the miners out.

Rescuers found the slip of paper after successfully drilling a borehole through to the tunnel where the men were trapped on January 10.

"We must win the race", he said at a press conference Friday.

The explosion badly damaged the communications system and exit ladder from the mine, which is owned by the Shandong Wucailong Investment Co. Ltd.

Mining accidents in China are not uncommon and are often due to poorly enforced safety regulations.

The party secretary and mayor of Qixia, the city's two most powerful local officials, were dismissed from their posts Friday for dereliction of duty and placed under investigation.

In December, 23 miners died after being trapped in a mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing-just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning after being caught underground at another coal mine in the city.

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