A group of 12 miners currently trapped in a Chinese gold mine are still alive after more than a week of being trapped, and are now hoping to be rescued after authorities deemed a rescue attempt as hopeless.
The group of miners wrote a note to their potential rescuers, saying “don’t stop trying to reach us,” as authorities offered them food and a telephone connection to the outside world.
In total, 22 men were trapped inside the Hushan gold mine in the Eastern Shandong province of China on January 10. An explosion destroyed the entry and exit point of the mine, as well as their ability to communicate.
It is yet unknown what happened to 10 of the men, however, authorities presume them to have died in the accident, or from a lack of sustenance.
According to a report from the BBC, “mining accidents in China are not uncommon and are often due to poorly enforced safety regulations.”
In the days after the explosion, rescue attempts tried to make contact with the miners, lowering ropes into a shaft drilled into the mine. After days of attempts, the rescuers felt someone pulling the rope at the other end.
The authorities have since, according to Chinese state media, been lowering food rations, medicine and paper into the hole for the miners to use until their rescue. One of the miners wrote a note to rescuers, saying that “there are 11 others – one is injured, and the status of the remaining 10 is unclear.”
Chen Fei, Shandon’s Yantai City Deputy Secretary has said that they have made phone contact with the miners who are “currently very weak.”
“After we opened up the third shaft, it had a really excitable effect on the people connected. They were very confident and very hopeful that they would soon be able to get out of the mine,” he said.
“We established they needed emergency medicines and equipment,” Fei added.
“Next step, we’ll continue to use life detectors and other equipment to contact those trapped underground. At the same time, we’re speeding the clearing of the main shaft and drilling additional rescue holes.”
The BBC’s report states that “initially, it took more than a day for the accident to be reported, meaning rescue teams lost precious time to start their attempt to reach the miners.”
The local mayor and Communist Party secretary have been fired from their positions as a result of the more than 30-hour delay.
That same report points to a mining accident that took place in a Chinese coal mine that killed more than 18 miners. In that case, a carbon monoxide leak in the south-west of China was responsible for killing the miners in December, 2020.
A few months prior, 16 employees of a mine in the Chongquing province were killed when a piece of machinery caught fire. This is in addition to a 2019 explosion again in the south-west of China that killed an estimated 14 workers.