BEIJING: Ten workers trapped for two weeks after an explosion in a northern China gold mine have been provided with a normal diet as attempts to bring them to the surface continue, state media reported on Sunday (Jan 24).
One of the workers is reported to have died while the fate of 11 others is unknown. Rescuers have used loudspeakers and devices to detect heat and movement without results, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Surviving workers had been provided with a nutrient solution, but rescuers are now able to provide regular food and drink, along with clothing and other supplies, Xinhua reported.
The shaft is reportedly blocked 350m below the surface by 70 tons of debris that extends down another 100m. Rescuers estimate another two weeks will be needed to bring the workers to safety while they drill additional shafts for communication, ventilation and, possibly, evacuation.
Exhaustion has set in among some of the workers since the Jan 10 explosion ripped through the mine that was under construction in Qixia, a jurisdiction under Yantai in Shandong province.
Mine managers have been detained for waiting more than 24 hours before reporting the accident, the cause of which has not been announced.
Increased supervision has improved safety in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5,000 deaths per year. Yet, demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting, and two accidents in Chongqing last year killed 39 miners.