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Miners stranded in China passed note to rescuers

Miners trapped for a week underground in China after an explosion managed to send a handwritten message to rescuers, authorities said on Monday. The accident happened on January 10 in Qixia, in a gold mine in Shandong province (east), trapping 22 people more than 600 meters from the entrance of the shaft.

The blast severely damaged the ladder giving access to the bottom of the mine and the communication cables. The rescuers had however managed to pierce a conduit and heard blows this weekend, synonymous with signs of life.

The miners have since been able to send a handwritten message to the surface indicating that at least 12 of them were still alive, local authorities said on Monday.

“We are all exhausted. We urgently need medicine for stomach aches, painkillers, medical adhesive and anti-inflammatory drugs. Three people also have high blood pressure,” the note said.

The author of the message also writes that a large amount of water surrounds the minors, four of whom are injured. “We do not know the situation of the 10 other people” stuck, he said. “As long as the relief continues, we will continue to have hope. Thank you!”

Public television CCTV broadcast images of rescuers pulling down a wire rope through a conduit with food hanging on it, before bringing it up with the message of the minors. Two mine officials have already been sacked following the explosion.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are sometimes not enforced.

In December, 23 miners were killed in a coal mine in Chongqing, in the southwest of the country.

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