Rescuers looking for the remaining workers trapped in a Chinese gold mine after Sunday’s dramatic recovery of eleven survivors have found nine bodies, a local official said on Monday, taking the death toll to 10, with one miner still missing.
A total of 22 miners working about 600 meters underground got stuck after an explosion at the Hushan mine in Qixia, a large gold-producing region led by Yantai in China’s coast of Shandong province, on January 10.
Eleven were pulled out alive on Sunday after two weeks underground, including one in a very weak condition to which rescue teams had not been able to send deliveries.
Search efforts continue for the last remaining miner until he is found, said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai, where the mine is located.
“Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” he told a news conference.
Chen and other officials involved in the rescue operation kept quiet about the victims and bowed their heads.
“Our hearts are deeply saddened. We express our deepest sympathy and we express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims, he said.
The cause of the accident at the mine, which was under construction, is under investigation. The explosion was large enough to release 70 tons of debris that blocked the shaft, disabling elevators and trapping workers underground.
Authorities have detained mine managers to delay reporting of the accident.
Rescuers drilled parallel shoulders to send down food and nutrients and eventually pick up the survivors on Sunday.
Such long-term and expensive rescue operations are relatively new in China’s mining industry, which averaged 5,000 deaths per year. Increased supervision has improved safety, although demand for coal and precious metals continues to cut corners. A new attack was ordered after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing last year killed 39 miners.
( Jowharwith AP and REUTERS)