Wed, Aug 31, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Nineteen rescued from flooded Chinese mine

AFP, BEIJING

Rescuers carry a survivor out of a flooded pit yesterday at Hengtai Coal Mine in Qitaihe, Heilongjiang Province, China. Nineteen miners were rescued yesterday.

Photo: REUTERS

Rescue workers yesterday saved 19 miners from a flooded Chinese mine where they had been trapped for a week, state media said, in a rare success for an industry in which thousands die each year.

The state CCTV television network showed the men being carried out on stretchers from the flooded mine swaddled in blankets, their eyes bandaged as they emerged into the daylight, several shouting their thanks to the rescuers.

Xinhua news agency said three people remained trapped in the mine in Heilongjiang Province after it flooded on Aug. 23 when workers mistakenly drilled into a neighboring mine that had been filled with water.

Of the 45 miners who were in the pit when it flooded, 19 escaped, four were rescued on Saturday — one of whom later died — and another 19 were pulled out early yesterday morning.

Workers had been been pumping water out of the Heilongjiang mine for days and by Saturday afternoon had drained 56,150m3, Xinhua said, citing rescuers.

On Aug. 24, the government in Boli County — where the mine is located — said it had sacked two top officials for their roles leading up to the disaster, including the county head.

Authorities had ordered work at the mine owned by the Hengtai Coal Mining Co to halt in 2007, but on Aug. 16 the owner illegally restarted production, Xinhua said.

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