Rescuers detect signs of life from 22 trapped Chinese miners a week after blast

Rescue teams working to save miners trapped underground after an explosion at a gold mine in Qixia, Shandong province, on Jan 12, 2021.
Rescue teams working to save miners trapped underground after an explosion at a gold mine in Qixia, Shandong province, on Jan 12, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Rescuers detected signs of life on Sunday (Jan 17) from 22 gold miners trapped underground in east China, a week after the workers were cut off by an explosion, state media reported.

The blast on Jan 10 badly damaged the exit ladder from the mine and the communications system, leaving authorities unable to contact the workers in the mine located near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province.

Rescuers on Sunday afternoon drilled down into the mine and heard "knocking sounds", the official Xinhua news agency said, although they still "needed confirmation".

Local officials plan to lower food and telephone lines into the mine, owned by Shandong Wucailong Investment, which was under construction when the accident happened.

Two officials have been sacked over the explosion.

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 south-western city of Chongqing, just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning after being caught underground at another coal mine in the city.