Beijing, 21 Jan (efe-epa).- One of the workers trapped in a Chinese gold mine for more than 10 days following an explosion has died, state media reported Thursday.
The miner sustained serious head injuries when the mine under construction in east China collapsed and fell into a coma, after which he stopped showing vital signs and died late Wednesday, according to news agency Xinhua.
Rescue operations were underway to extract the 21 miners still trapped in the mine. Of those, 10 have still not been contacted.
Eight of the workers are in good health as they said via a telephone deployed through one of the channels dug by rescue teams. However, two others expressed slight discomfort.
Rescuers have drilled several channels to also send them food and medical supplies including porridge, thermometers and blankets.
The miners asked for a spare phone to be sent as water accumulating in the mine is causing signal failures while making contact, something that will be done several times a day to ease their anxiety.
The authorities are studying how to carry out the rescue, a task of great difficulty because in some areas ventilation ducts, drainage pipes or electrical cables overlap.
The National Health Commission sent a team of experts Tuesday from Beijing to the Qixia area, where the mine is located, to help in different fields of psychological and medical care – intensive care, neurosurgery, nutrition and poisoning.
The rescue is challenging because managers did not inform authorities until 30 hours after the incident. Several people have been dismissed, including the two highest political leaders in the area and an official investigation is underway.
China’s laws require the person in charge of an industrial unit in which an accident occurs to inform authorities within a maximum period of one hour.
Chinese mining operations, especially coal – main source of energy in the country – suffer a high accident rate, though in recent years fatal accidents have dropped significantly. EFE-EPA