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114 miners rescued from China's flooded mine

April 05, 2010 15:08 IST

"It is a miracle in China's mining rescue history," said Luo Lin, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, from the site of the rescue operation. Rescuers have pulled out 114 miners from the flooded Wangjialing Coal Mine in the Shanxi Province by Monday afternoon, he said. "Rescuers are continuing the search for 39 trapped miners. The rescue work is still challenging," said Wang Jun, governor of Shanxi. Survivors with pieces of cloth covering their eyes are being lifted out by rescuers.

"Scientific methods and technology used in the rescue have ensured the survivors rescued alive after being trapped underground for a week," said Shanxi Party chief Zhang Baoshun. He said most of the survivors were brought out from a working platform, where rescuers had drilled a vertical hole last week. The hole ensured oxygen in the flooded pit. Rescuers later also sent down glucose for the trapped people after sensing that they were alive. Most of the survivors were in a stable condition, and could talk soberly, Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

"It is miracle. It is all worth of our efforts without sleep for several days," a rescuer said, bursting into tears. A team of medical experts organised by the Ministry of Health arrived in Shanxi to aide the rescue work. Many of them have the experience of disaster relief in Wenchuan Earthquake and Haiti Quake. "I have two daughters and a son. I had to do mining work to earn money for them," said a 45-year-old survivor taken by the Shanxi Aluminium Plant Hospital, which has admitted 35 survivors from the mine on Monday. The hospital is among five local hospitals taking survivors from the mine.

"How fantastic to be up on ground again," said a 27-year-old survivor. He said he heard applause when he was lifted out by rescuers and also shook hands with other survivors. Rescuers entered the flooded Wangjialing coal mine last evening to search for about 153 workers believed to have been trapped inside for a week, after the water level dropped. Swaying lamp lights were seen from the V-shaped lane of the flooded mine which led to the rescue teams to step up their efforts.

Image:  An ambulance officer helps rescuers carrying a survivor into an ambulance at the entrance of the flooded Wangjialing Coal Mine, in China.

Photograph: Reuters

K J M Varma in Beijing
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