Eleven captured miners have been rescued after 14 days underground in China

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© Reuters. Rescuers work at the Hushan gold mine in Qixia, where workers were trapped underground after the Jauary 10 explosion

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By Dominique Patton

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese rescuers brought 11 gold miners to safety on Sunday. Most of them were in good shape after 14 days underground after an explosion, but 10 colleagues were still unreported, according to state media.

TV footage showed the first miner being brought to the surface that morning. A black blindfold shielded his eyes from daylight as he was lifted out of a shaft.

The miner was extremely weak, the state broadcaster CCTV reported on its website Weibo (NASDAQ :). Rescue workers wrapped the barely responding man in a blanket and took him to the hospital by ambulance.

Over the next few hours, 10 miners from another part of the mine who had been hauling food and medical supplies through a shaft by rescue workers last week were brought out in batches.

“We made a breakthrough this morning,” the rescue center’s chief engineer Xiao Wenru told Xinhua News Agency.

“After removing those broken, powdery pieces, we found there were voids underneath … our progress accelerated.”

Officials said on Thursday it could take another two weeks for a rescue shaft to be drilled through blockades to reach the group of 10.

One of the men brought to the surface was injured, but some were shown walking, assisted by rescue workers and wearing a black cloth over their eyes, before being taken away by ambulance.

They were in good physical shape and had normal food since Saturday after living on nutrient solutions for several days, Xinhua News Agency said.

China’s mines are among the deadliest in the world. According to the National Mine Safety Administration, there were 573 mine-related deaths in 2020.

In the January 10 explosion at the Hushan mine in Qixia, a major gold mining region under the administration of Yantai in the coastal province of Shandong, 22 workers were trapped about 600 meters underground.

It is known that a miner died. Ten are not counted.

More than 600 rescuers were on site to reach the men.

The workers’ escape is similar to rescuing 33 miners trapped in the San Jose copper-gold mine in Chile for more than 69 days in 2010.

The Chilean miners trapped in a collapse survived on food and water rations for 17 days until rescue workers gave them a lifeline by drilling a small hole in the chamber where they had sought refuge.

Weeks later, a larger hole was drilled and the miners pulled to the surface while an intrigued global audience watched.

Interactive graphic on mine rescue: https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-ACCIDENT/MINE/xklvylmnbpg/index.html

(Graphic: Explosion in a gold mine in the northern Chinese province of Shandong https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-ACCIDENT/MINE/yxmpjynakvr/CHINA-MINE.jpg)

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