Shanghai, China, Jan 22 (efe-epa).- The rescue of 22 workers trapped in a Chinese gold mine after an explosion is expected to take more than two weeks due to a shaft blockage, officials said.
The miners were working about 600 meters down when an explosion on Jan. 10 about 240 m from the entrance resulted in a blockage of about 1,300 cubic meters and 70 tons further in, according to the state China Daily on Friday.
The latest estimates given Thursday are that the drilling of the main rescue channel in will take 15 days or more.
In the mine under construction in eastern Shandong province, at least 10 people are still alive and communicating with rescuers, another is in a separate chamber and another 10 remain missing. One person is believed to have died after suffering injuries to the head.
The authorities have sent medical supplies, blankets and food through various channels.
By Thursday, 17 rescue teams and another firefighting team had been deployed, with a total of 629 people and more than 400 sets of rescue equipment.
The difficulty of the rescue tasks is also due to the fact that it took around 30 hours for the accident to be reported, which has led to arrests, the dismissal of the two highest political leaders in the area and the opening of an official investigation.
Chinese mining operations, especially coal – the main source of energy in the country – register a high accident rate, although in recent years the number of fatal accidents has dropped significantly. EFE-EPA