Forty-five grimy, exhausted Chinese coal miners trapped by a cave-in were rescued yesterday, ending a 36-hour ordeal. Eight miners were killed in the accident.
After Thursday’s cave-in, at least 200 workers dug a small rescue tunnel about 500m deep to reach the trapped miners, the People’s Daily newspaper said.
Seven miners were pulled from the mine alive on Friday in the city of Sanmenxia in Henan Province.
The rescue was the biggest in the country since April last year, when 115 miners were pulled out alive after being trapped for eight days in a mine in northern China.
Luo Lin (駱琳), head of the State Administration for Work Safety, praised the rescue after the last miner was rushed away in an ambulance, but said more work needed to be done to promote safety.
“The alarm bell of work safety must keep ringing. Enterprises should pay attention to work safety when the coal demand is high ... They should not allow any operation that violates [safety] rules or regulations,” he said.
China’s coal mines are the deadliest in the world, although the industry’s safety record has improved in recent years as smaller, illegal mines have been closed. Annual fatalities are now about one-third of the high of nearly 7,000 in 2002.
Last Sunday, a gas explosion at a coal mine in Hunan Province killed 29 workers, the worst accident in recent months.