On Jan. 10, a gold mine in Hushan — near Yantai, in the eastern Shandong province — experienced an accident that has put 22 lives in peril.
An explosion trapped 22 underground, and it took a week for any contact to be made. The incident was not reported within the first 24 hours, a fact that has led to an investigation and the mine managers being detained.
The mine is blocked 1,000 feet down by 70 tons of rubble, and teams have managed to bore down 2,000 feet.
On Monday, rescue teams finally got a sign that there was life below the surface when they felt tugging at the ropes they had lowered into the mine, which was under construction at the time of the accident.
“There are 11 others – one is injured, and the status of the remaining 10 is unclear,” the note allegedly read, according to the BBC.
The note said they hoped to be rescued and thanked the crews working to extract them. They also requested pain killers, medical tape and anti-inflammatory drugs.
“Don’t stop trying to reach us,” the note urged.
Two days’ worth of supplies, including food and medicine, were lowered to the victims, and a telephone connection was established.
The deputy secretary of Yantai City, Chen Fei, said that once they broke through and made contact, the miners’ spirits were lifted.
“After we opened up the third shaft, it had a really excitable effect on the people connected,” he said. “They were very confident and very hopeful that they would soon be able to get out of the mine.”
“We established they needed emergency medicines and equipment.”
He added that the men were “currently very weak,” but hopefully the supplies will help bolster their health and fortitude.
Efforts continue to clear the mine, search for the other miners and keep those they have located alive.
“Next step, we’ll continue to use life detectors and other equipment to contact those trapped underground,” one rescue worker said. “At the same time, we’re speeding the clearing of the main shaft and drilling additional rescue holes.”
Since then, The Guardian has reported that one of the miners has died and two more are in rough shape. One of the miners is in a lower section than the others who have been located.
Rescuers are now estimating that an additional 15 days will be needed to free the miners, saying “the extent of the blockage … is well out of expectation.”
Hopefully, with a line of communication set up and the ability to get supplies to the victims, the miners will be able to hold on until they’re freed.
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