Eleven Chinese Miners Rescued After Two Weeks Trapped Below Ground


Image Courtesy of BBC

Anushka Elavia, Staff Writer

Eleven miners have been rescued in China after they were trapped for two weeks by an explosion inside of a gold mine. The explosion destroyed the ladder of the mine and severely disrupted its communication system. Although the rescue signified a moment of celebration in what has been a strenuous effort to bring the men to safety, one miner has already died from a head wound resulting from the blast, and the fate of ten others who were underground at the time remains unknown. Television footage captured the rescue of the first miner on Sunday morning, illustrating relieved rescuers cheering as the miner was brought to safety. He was seen wearing a blindfold to shield his eyes from the light, and was then transported to the hospital for treatment, where his physical condition was described as “extremely weak.” Other miners were said to be walking on their own towards the ambulances. 

The miners became trapped on January 10,  following an inexplicable explosion at the Hushan gold mine in the city of Qixia, China, located in the eastern province of Shandong. The incident was not reported until 30 hours later, leading to the expulsions of two local officials. Although there were no signs of life for one week, on January 17, rescuers felt resistance on one of the ropes they had lowered into the mine. Fortunately, the trapped miners were able to deliver a note up to rescuers, warning that they were injured, surrounded by water, and in desperate need of medicine. The note explained that eleven people were trapped in one section of the mine, one in another section and that ten others were unaccounted for. Despite the dangerous conditions they were stranded in, the miners tried to remain optimistic and maintain hope.  “Hope that the rescue will not stop,” they wrote in their note. “We have hope, thank you!” Once they were successfully located, rescuers were able to lower medicine, food, liquids, thermometers, and blankets to the miners, as well as pickles and porridge upon request. 

In order to reach the miners, rescuers had to navigate through a 300-foot-thick blockage that was estimated to weigh around 140,000 pounds. The mines in China are ranked among the most dangerous in the world. In December, 23 workers tragically died after a carbon monoxide leak at a mine in the southwest city of Chongqing. Furthermore, in August, 16 workers died similarly, from carbon monoxide poisoning following a fire at the Songzao coal mine. In the entirety of 2020, according to the country’s National Mine Safety Administration, China recorded 434 mining accidents and 573 mining-related deaths. In hopes of a safer future, China plans to introduce new regulations to improve working conditions in the mining industry.