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Rescuers race against time to save trapped miners in China landslide

RESCUERS are racing against time to save 27 trapped miners who are believed to be possibly still alive in Friday's massive landslide which left 72 missing, including the 27 trapped underground.

Rescuers ignited explosives at 8:07 pm yesterday at a location near one entrance in an effort to reach the shaft where the miners were believed to be buried.

Experts are also planning to drill a hole about 40 meters deep at a hill near the mountain to send air, water and food to the miners.

The two entrances of the Jiwei Mountain iron ore mine were both covered with rock when the landslide happened at around 3 pm Friday and buried an iron ore plant and 12 houses in Tiekuang Township, Wulong County, about 170 kilometers southeast of Chongqing's downtown.

Eight people -- three seriously injured -- were rescued late Friday. But 72 people, including 21 local residents, the 27 trapped miners and 18 miners who worked on the ground, two telecom company workers and four passers-by, remain missing.

The 27 miners are in a depth of 150 meters to 200 meters. The air in the mine can support them for seven days. Experts believe there is water in the shafts as the Jiwei Mountain is mainly made up of limestone.

"We will do our best and save every second to rescue them," said an official with the rescue headquarters.

Experts are still busy surveying and revising plans of future blasts.

Chinese vice-premier Zhang Dejiang inspected the site early yesterday morning, asking rescuers to try their best to save life while avoiding secondary disasters. Experts are called on to find out the causes of the landslide.


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