BEIJING: Chinese rescuers pulled 11 gold miners to safety on Sunday (Jan 24), 14 days after they were trapped by an underground explosion, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Footage showed the first miner to be rescued, a black blindfold across his eyes, being lifted out of a mine shaft in the morning.
The miner was extremely weak, CCTV said on its Weibo site. Rescue workers wrapped the barely responsive man in a blanket before taking him to hospital by ambulance.
Over the next few hours, 10 miners from a different section of the mine, who had been receiving food and supplies from rescue workers last week, were brought out in batches.
One was injured but several of the others were shown walking, supported by rescue workers and wearing black cloth over their eyes, before leaving the site in ambulances.
Twenty-two workers were trapped about 600m underground in the Hushan mine by the Jan 10 blast in Qixia, a major gold-producing region under the administration of Yantai in coastal Shandong province.
One miner has died.
Officials had said on Thursday that it could take another two weeks to clear "severe blockages" before they could drill shafts to reach the group of 10.
Rescuers have been battling difficult conditions to help the workers since an underground explosion at the mine sealed them underground amid rising waters.
Contact was first established a week ago with a group of 11 miners trapped in a section of the mine around 580m below the surface.
One of them was seriously injured in the initial explosion and has been confirmed dead after suffering head injuries and falling into a coma.
Rescue teams have been lowering food, medicine and other supplies through several "lifeline" shafts drilled into the rock. Life detectors and nutrient solutions have been lowered to other parts of the mine to find the other missing miners.
The first rescued miner was found in a section closer to the surface than the section where the first group are located, CCTV reported.
State media footage on Sunday showed several tall drills boring down.
Another miner is believed to be trapped on his own, 100m further down in rising waters.
For the other nine miners, hopes are dwindling as they have not been heard from since 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 workers died after becoming stuck underground in the southwestern city of Chongqing.