Relief as 29 Chinese caught in shaft found safe
BAREFOOT and wrapped in white quilts, 29 miners were pulled safely out of a Chinese coal mine yesterday after being trapped by a flood.
State broadcaster China Central Television showed medics leading out the miners, naked and with their eyes shielded from the light after 24 hours in darkness. Crowds of mine workers, reporters and others cheered as they were taken to ambulances.
Last night, all 29 men were said to be in a stable condition at a hospital with no serious injuries. They may have removed their clothes because wet clothing would have risked hypothermia.
Some 35 miners were initially trapped Sunday morning when waters from a nearby abandoned mine flooded a shaft in the small, privately owned Batian mine in southwest Sichuan province, it was reported.
While 13 managed to escape, seven entered the mine trying to rescue their colleagues and became trapped, the report said.
The trapped workers found dry space about 40 meters below the surface to wait out the rescue while pumping by emergency teams cleared the water away, a mine inspector who took part in the rescue said.
"They were trapped down underground just above the leaked water," said the inspector, Bao Xiqiang. "When the water went down to a safe level, the rescuers and miners were able to wade their way out of the shaft."
Workers pumped water for more than 10 hours, Mr Xiqiang said.