No signs of life in flooded mine: Chinese rescue team
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Saturday, April 03, 2010, 20:58
Beijing: A group of rescuers and divers today entered a flooded Chinese mine where 153 workers have been trapped for almost a week, but found no signs of life.

Thirteen rescuers, including six divers, entered the flooded coal mine in north China's Shanxi Province in search of the trapped workers but found "no signs of life", official Xinhua news agency reported.

Hopes of survivors brightened yesterday after rescuers heard tapping of the metal pipes beneath the mine.

If the trapped workers cannot be saved, the accident will be China's worst mining disaster in more than two years.

In August 2007, a total of 181 workers died at two flooded coal mines neighbouring each other -- 172 at one mine -- in Xintai, eastern Shandong Province.

The team of rescuers were sent down to explore the flooded shaft in the Wangjialing Coal Mine this afternoon to prepare for a large scale operation, a spokesman with the rescue headquarters said.

The divers were carrying underwater cameras to film the environment in the shaft, he said.

But they all said the situation underground was "very complicated" and the water was "murky and deep" when they returned to the surface successively after 3 p.m.

"Under normal conditions, we can work for two hours underwater, but only about an hour in complicated situation with bad water quality," a diver was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

"I could not go too far underground due to restrictions of equipment I brought," he said.

The spokesman with the rescue headquarters has said early Sunday morning was the soonest time when a large-scale rescue operation could be launched.

Rescuers sent down an explosion-proof telephone through the drill pipe to the pit, hoping to hear the voices of the trapped or other sings of life. But no sounds were heard.

Rescuers have sent more than 360 bags of glucose, down the 250-meter coal mine after hearing banging on the metal pipe yesterday.

About 3,000 rescuers are racing the clock to pump water and reach the trapped miners. Rescuers said the trapped miners were working on nine different platforms, and four platforms had not been totally submerged, making it possible that some workers could have survived.

The flooding happened last Sunday when underground water gushed into the pit of Wangjialing Coal Mine, which was under construction.

Altogether 261 miners were working underground, and 108 were lifted safely to the surface. Rescuers said the flooding took place when workers digging tunnels broke through into an old shaft filled with water.


First Published: Saturday, April 03, 2010, 20:58

comments powered by Disqus