BEIJING — Twenty-one miners trapped for nearly a day in a flooded Chinese coal mine have been lifted to safety and eight others still underground have been confirmed alive and stable, state media said Monday.
The miners were trapped Sunday morning after the small Batian mine in southwest China’s Sichuan province suddenly flooded. Rescuers initially thought only 28 were trapped but made contact with the workers Monday and revised the figure upward to 29.
State broadcaster China Central Television showed a line of ambulances and large crowds waiting near the entrance to the mine and medics easing survivors onto stretchers after being led out of the mine.
The miners were barefoot and naked, their work clothes apparently drenched by the flood, and they wore blindfolds so the sunlight wouldn’t hurt their eyes after nearly 24 hours in the dark shafts.
The miners still underground were alive and in stable condition, CCTV said.
China’s mines are the deadliest in the world, with more than 2,600 people killed in coal mine accidents in 2009 alone.
Production at the Batian mine was halted at the time of the flood as it was being upgraded to increase its annual capacity to 60,000 tons from 50,000 tons, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The workers had been underground for safety work, it said.
Though most of China’s mining accidents occur in small, illegal mines, Xinhua quoted Lin Shucheng, chief of the provincial work safety bureau, as saying Batian’s operation was legal and fully licensed.
China depends on coal for 70 per cent of its energy production and its mines are the deadliest in the world, with more than 2,600 people killed in coal mine accidents in 2009 alone.