Workers found dead in China mine explosion

25 January 2021, 11:34

Rescuers carry a miner who was trapped in a gold mine
China Mine Explosion. Picture: PA

One person remains missing at the gold mine in Shandong province.

Rescuers in China have found the bodies of nine workers in a mine explosion, raising the death toll to 10.

Eleven others were rescued earlier after being trapped for two weeks, and one person is still missing at the gold mine in Shandong province.

Search efforts will continue for the remaining miner until he is found, said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai city, where the mine is located.

Eleven workers who were trapped for two weeks were brought safely
Eleven workers who were trapped for two weeks were brought safely (Chen Hao/Xinhua via AP)

“Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” he said at a news conference.

The cause of the accident at the mine, which was under construction, is under investigation. The explosion on January 10 was large enough to release 70 tonnes of debris that blocked the shaft, disabling elevators and trapping workers underground.

Rescuers drilled parallel shafts to send down food and nutrients and eventually bring up the survivors on Sunday.

Chen Yumin, director of the rescue group, said there were two explosions about an hour-and-a-half apart, with the second explosion causing more damage. He said the nine workers recovered on Monday died more than 400 metre below the ground.

Search efforts will continue for the remaining miner until he is found, said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai city, where the mine is located.

“Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” he said at a news conference.

Mr Chen and other officials involved in the rescue effort held a moment of silence for the victims, bowing their heads.

“Our hearts are deeply grieved. We express our profound condolences, and we express deep sympathies to the families of the victim,” he said.

Authorities have detained mine managers for delaying reporting the accident.

Such protracted and expensive rescue efforts are relatively new in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5,000 deaths per year.

Increased supervision has improved safety, although demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting. A new crackdown was ordered after two accidents in the mountainous Chongqing last year killed 39 miners.

By Press Association