At least 12 workers trapped in China gold mine are still alive

A total of 22 workers were trapped in the Hushan mine, in Shandong province, after a blast on Jan 10. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP, REUTERS) - Twelve miners who remain trapped underground in eastern China for more than a week after a blast at a gold mine have managed to send up a note to rescuers, the local government said Monday (Jan 18).

The blast occurred eight days ago on Sunday afternoon at a mine near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province, leaving 22 miners trapped underground more than 600 metres from the mine's entrance.

After a long period without any contact, rescuers were able to drill through the mine on Sunday afternoon and said they heard "knocking sounds".

A note was then sent up from the trapped miners saying that 12 were still alive, the local government said in a statement Monday.

"We are in urgent need of cold medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure," the note read.

The writer of the note asked rescuers to send down some antihypertensive drugs from his car, and warned that there is a large amount of underground water where the miners are trapped. Four people are injured, the note read.

"We wish the rescuers won't stop so that we can still have hope. Thank you", the note read.

The state of the other ten workers is unknown.

Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed rescuers sending a metal wire with food parcels attached down to the miners, then later pulling the wire back up with the note attached.

The explosion badly damaged the communications system and exit ladder from the mine, which is owned by the Shandong Wucailong Investment Co Ltd.

China's fourth-biggest gold miner, Zhaojin Mining Industry Co Ltd, describes the company as a "subsidiary of an associate." Zhaojin has not commented publicly on the accident.

Two officials have already been sacked over the accident.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.

In December, 23 miners died after being trapped in a mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing - just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning after being trapped underground at another coal mine in the city.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.