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January 26, 2021

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Bodies of 9 miners found, toll rises to 10

RESCUERS searching for the remaining workers trapped in a Chinese gold mine after Sunday’s dramatic extraction of 11 survivors found nine bodies, a local official said yesterday, taking the death toll to 10, with one miner still missing.

A total of 22 miners working about 600 meters underground were trapped after an explosion at the Hushan mine in Qixia, a major gold-producing region in Shandong Province, on January 10.

Eleven were pulled out alive on Sunday after two weeks underground, including one in a very weak condition whom rescue teams had been unable to send supplies to.

Yantai Mayor Chen Fei said rescuers kept searching from Sunday till yesterday afternoon and found the bodies of nine miners. That means a total of 10 miners are confirmed to have died, following the earlier death in the mine of one worker who had lapsed into a coma, and their remains have been lifted to the surface, Chen said, adding that one miner was still missing.

The search is difficult and water levels are high, but as long as the missing worker has not been found the work will not stop, Chen added.

The blast occurred at around 1:15pm on January 10, accompanied by thick smoke and strong tremors. At around 2:45pm, a second explosion was heard in the shaft which caused severe damage to the underground facilities and greater difficulties for clearing work, according to Chen Yumin, who is leading the rescue team.

“The bodies of nine miners were retrieved from about 420 meters to 500 meters underground, indicating they were killed by the second blast as they tried to escape following the first explosion,” said Chen. The 10th victim was found at a different location.

The 11 rescued miners are receiving appropriate medical treatment, and DNA tests are being conducted to confirm the identities of the deceased, according to Chen.

The survivors are in “stable” and “non life-threatening” conditions.


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