Race against time as miner dies

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 22 Jan 2021

A gold mine worker trapped underground in east China has been confirmed dead after 10 days as rescuers continue efforts to save 21 others stranded in rising floodwaters.

The miners are stuck in the Hushan gold mine near Qixia in Shandong after an explosion on January 10 sealed the main shaft.

Contact was made on Sunday with 11 miners at one location around 580 meters below the surface. Another miner - alone - is stuck about 100m further down.

A miner in the group of 11 who sustained a head injury in the blast showed "no signs of life." That message came over a phone line that was lowered into the shaft.

Eight of the miners are in stable condition while two are "weak."

After days without any sign of life, a note was sent up on a metal wire rescuers had dropped on Sunday.

In it, the workers pleaded for food and medicine and warned the water was rising.

The whereabouts of 10 workmates were unknown last night.

Rescuers have drilled two channels to send supplies to the group. Eight more shafts are at various stages of drilling. But one channel was abandoned since it worsened water leakage.

There are plans for the widest of the channels to be broadened enough to extract the miners.

Meanwhile, probes to find the 10 other workers continue, but progress is slow as the rescuers are drilling through granite. And overnight temperatures are set to drop below freezing.

Rescue time was lost as the blast was not reported for more than a day.

The local Chinese Communist Party secretary and the mayor have been sacked over the 30-hour delay.



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