Twelve Chinese miners trapped after an explosion in a gold mine a week ago are still alive, rescuers said.
Chinese state media reported the workers managed to send a note saying “don’t stop trying to reach us” to rescuers seven days after the accident.
22 miners were trapped at the Hushan mine near Yantai in Shandong province in eastern China on 10 January after an explosion damaged the exit and the communications system of the mine, which was still under construction.
The fate of 10 miners after the explosion remains unclear.
According to state media, rescuers managed to make contact with some of the miners through a narrow shaft.
They felt pulling on ropes they lowered into the mine and later sent food, medicine, paper and pencils into the hole.
The 12 miners reportedly also asked for more medicine, including pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as medical tape for the injured.
They also said there were high levels of underground water.
Initially, it took more than a day for the accident to be reported, meaning rescue teams lost precious time to start their attempt to reach the miners.
Both the local Communist Party secretary and mayor have been sacked because of this 30-hour delay.
Mining accidents in China are not uncommon and are often due to poorly enforced safety regulations.
In December last year, 23 miners died after a carbon monoxide leak at a coal mine.
In September, 16 workers were killed at another mine on the outskirts of Chongqing when a conveyor belt caught fire, producing high levels of carbon monoxide.
In December 2019, an explosion at a coal mine in Guizhou province, south-west China, killed at least 14 people.