Rescuers found nine miners dead a day after they rescued 11 of their colleagues alive two weeks after they were trapped at a gold mine in China’s Shandong province.
The Yantai city mayor confirmed the deaths, state broadcaster CCTV said. One miner remains missing. Another died last week after falling into a coma.
“From Sunday afternoon to this afternoon, rescue workers have not stopped searching, and found a further nine trapped miners who unfortunately all died,” Yantai Mayor Chen Fei told a briefing on Monday.
“Along with one miner who died on Thursday, the bodies of the nine deceased miners were all lifted out of the mine.”
On Sunday a huge obstacle blocking the well suddenly fell to the bottom of the shaft, allowing rescue work to pull out 11 trapped miners.
The miners became trapped in the Hushan gold mine when the entrance to the tunnel collapsed after a blast on 10 January.
For weeks there had been no sign of life as rescuers had been digging a 600 meter shaft. Then on 17 January, rescuers felt a pull on one of the ropes they were lowering into small shafts leading down into the dark.
A paper note was then sent up on a rope from a group of 12 surviving miners – 11 trapped in one place and a 12th trapped further below.
After that, the contact with the 12th miner was lost, while one of the group of 11, who had fallen into a coma after sustaining a head wound in the explosion, was confirmed dead on Thursday.
A communication line was established and food and medicine were lowered down through a narrow shaft.
The miners received porridge and nutritional liquids, and a few days before their rescue, requested a traditional meal of sausages.
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