4 Chinese miners rescued after 36 days underground – USA TODAY
Four Chinese miners were rescued Friday one-by-one after being trapped 700 feet underground in a gypsum mineÂ for 36 days, according to Chinese state media.
The four were takenÂ in stable conditionÂ to a local hospital, according to local media.
They were among 17 miners trapped when the mine collapsed Dec. 25Â in eastern China’s Pingyi County in Shandong Province.
One other miner was killed at the time of the collapse. Eleven made it to safety or were rescued earlier. The fate of the other two minersÂ was unclear.
To reach the miners, rescuers drilled twoÂ access tunnels,Â the official Xinhua news agency reports.
Dramatic footage broadcast by China’s CCTVÂ showed one of men, strapped to a harness and clinging to aÂ cable, beingÂ pulled to the surface. Cheers broke out as the dazed miner was carefully guided to solid ground, where he was embraced by fellow miners in helmets and orangeÂ uniforms.
Medical staff were later shown by CCTV rushing oneÂ miner along hospital corridors on a stretcher with his eyes covered.
The collapse in DecemberÂ was so violent it registered as a seismic event registering magnitude 4, the Associated Press reports. Five days later, infrared cameras detected the four miners weak with hunger waving their hands. The miners told rescuers they were in underground passages that were intact, and rescuers began slowly drilling a route to save them. They sent food and clothes to the men through four small tunnels they drilled.
According to CCTV, one of men at the time couldÂ be heardÂ saying,Â “I feel relieved and secure now. We will remember you (rescue team) forever.”
Two days after the collapse, the owner of the mine, Ma Congbo, jumped into a well and drowned in an apparent suicide. Four top officials in Pingyi county, where the mine is located, have been fired.
More than 400 people wereÂ involvedÂ in the rescue effort, which initially involvedÂ drillingÂ four tunnels to try to locate the trapped miners, Xinhua reports.
Rescuers initially hoped to use a man-sized capsuleÂ similar to one that rescuedÂ 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for two months in 2010. In the end, the capsule was not used, and the miners were pulled up on the make-shift harness,Â CNN reports.