China Rescues 11 Miners Trapped After Blast, Deaths Reported

Eleven workers trapped in a Chinese gold mine for two weeks have been rescued after efforts to free them were unexpectedly sped up, while 10 others have been confirmed dead, according to state media.

The first of the 11 survivors was rescued at 11:13 a.m. local time Sunday and was in weak physical condition, Xinhua News agency reported. Rescuers managed to remove debris along a passage to reach 10 others with whom they’d been in contact, and they were brought up in groups of two and three.

A total of 22 people were trapped by a blast at a gold mine in Shandong on Jan. 10.

From Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon, the bodies of nine miners were found, Xinhua said in a separate report, bringing the death toll to 10 after a worker died last week following a severe head injury. One person remains missing.

Investigations into the accident will be accelerated, the news agency reported, citing Yantai city mayor Chen Fei. Rescue operations will continue as long as the one worker remains missing, although there are challenges including water levels, he said.

The rescue of the 11 miners came just days after a warning that the operation, which was already impeded by hard rock and water, could take an additional 15 days due to a blockage in the intended escape route. Efforts were able to be expedited after the discovery of a space that was only blocked by large pieces of debris, Xinhua earlier reported, citing Xiao Wenru, the chief engineer of the mine rescue center of the Ministry of Emergency Management.

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