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3 miners rescued after being trapped for 8 days

THREE coal mine workers were rescued early this morning after being trapped underground for more than eight days in the northwest Shaanxi Province.

Rescuers pulled up the three men to the ground from the pit of a coal mine in Shenmu County at about 3:30 am.

Medical staff immediately wrapped them up with thick coats and rushed them to the hospital.

Rescuers said the miners were in stable condition. Doctors were giving checkups to them.

The three men -- team leader Wang Shibin and drivers Shi Xingrong and Zhang Meijun -- had been stranded in the Yongxing Gaozhuang Coal Mine since a shaft collapsed on Oct. 17.

Among the 27 workers in the shaft at the time of the accident, 24 managed to escape.

The three found a site with good ventilation and clean water for drinking, which helped them to sustain for six days until rescuers managed to drill a channel to deliver food and drinking water to them on Oct. 22.

Rescuers tried different ways to dig a tunnel amid complex geological structure and finally reached the trapped miners Sunday.

Yu Mei, wife of Zhang Meijun who began to work in the coal mine a month ago, said she felt the sky had collapsed when she heard the accident.

"Thank the God that he is still alive," Yu said.

"Saving the trapped miners was the most pressing task for the government. Now, we'll focus on finding out the cause of the accident," said Li Yuqing, an official with the Shaanxi Provincial Coal Mine Safety Supervision Administration.

The privately-owned coal mine has all necessary business licenses. It covers about 3.74 square kilometers with about 15 million tonnes of coal in reserve.


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