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Nine workers found dead in China gold mine explosion, pushing toll to 10

Rescuers in eastern China carry a miner who was trapped underground for two weeks to an ambulance.
Rescuers in eastern China carry a miner who was trapped underground for two weeks to an ambulance Sunday.
(Chen Hao / Xinhua News Agency)

Chinese rescuers have found the bodies of nine more workers killed in explosions at a gold mine, raising the death toll to 10, officials said Monday.

Eleven others were rescued a day earlier after being trapped underground for two weeks at the mine in Shandong province, in eastern China. One person is still missing.

The cause of the accident at the mine, which was under construction, is under investigation. The Jan. 10 explosions released 70 tons of debris that blocked a shaft, disabling elevators and trapping workers underground.

Rescuers drilled parallel shafts to send down food and nutrients and eventually bring up the survivors Sunday.

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Chen Yumin, director of the rescue group, said there were two explosions about an hour and a half apart, with the second explosion causing more damage. He said the nine workers whose bodies were recovered Monday died more than 1,300 feet below ground.

Search efforts will continue for the remaining miner until he is found, said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai city, where the mine is. “Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” he said at a news conference.

Eleven workers trapped for two weeks inside a Chinese gold mine were brought safely to the surface on Sunday.

Chen and other officials involved in the rescue effort held a moment of silence for the victims. “Our hearts are deeply grieved. We express our profound condolences, and we express deep sympathies to the families of the victim,” Chen said.

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Authorities have detained the mine’s managers for allegedly delaying in reporting the accident.

Such protracted and expensive rescue efforts are relatively new in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5,000 deaths per year.

Increased supervision has improved safety, although demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting. A new crackdown was ordered after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing last year killed 39 miners.


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