Work continues to free trapped miners in China

July 5th, 2011 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 5 (IANS) Rescue work continued for the fourth day Tuesday to free 19 miners trapped in a collapsed coalmine in southern China, Xinhua reported.

The workers were trying to dig through a sludge-filled 25-metre tunnel to reach the miners. By 9.00 a.m. Tuesday, they had already reached the halfway mark, said Su Fuchao, general manager of the mine located in the suburbs of Heshan city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The tunnel is thought to be the closest to the six miners who have the highest chance of survival, said Su. They were initially estimated as being trapped 320 metres underground.

Sludge and toxic gas in the tunnel are hampering the rescue work. “We are trying to clear off a giant rock now, but we can only progress a few centimetres per hour,” Su added.

Three bodies of miners were retrieved, while 49 of the 71 miners working inside the mine managed to escape after the accident Saturday.

Initial investigations indicate that the mine collapsed due to continuous heavy rains.

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