China: trapped miners sent a note to rescuers

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Beijing | Miners trapped underground for a week in China were able to send rescuers a poignant handwritten message, in which they explained that they were exhausted and needed medicine, authorities said on Monday.

An explosion occurred 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 explosion had seriously damaged the ladder giving access to the bottom of the mine as well as the communication cables. Rescuers had however managed to pierce a conduit and heard blows this weekend, synonymous with signs of life.

Thanks to a cable sent by rescuers, the miners were able to bring to the surface a handwritten message. Its author says at least 12 workers are still alive, local authorities said on Monday.

“We’re all exhausted. There is an urgent need for medicines for stomach ailments, painkillers, medical adhesive and anti-inflammatories. Three people also suffer from hypertension ”, indicates the note written on a page torn from a notebook.

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” trapped underground, he emphasizes. “As long as 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.

Hopes for a miraculous rescue are fueling discussions on the Chinese internet.

The hashtag “#Qixia gold mine accident” counted 140 million views on Monday afternoon on the Weibo social network – China’s equivalent of Twitter.

“I saw the message from the miners this morning when I was watching the news and it made me cry,” said one user.

“This handwritten note is so strong. It deserves to be exhibited one day in a museum. I hope that the operations will go well! “” Stressed another.

Fur hats

Rescuers are drilling several tunnels with the aim of bringing the miners back to safety to the surface, CCTV said.

Some rescuers wore fur hats to protect themselves from the cold, others were covered in dirt from the rescue operations, according to images on state television.

Two mine officials have already been dismissed 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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