Rescuers scrambling to reach 181 trapped miners

Updated: 2007-09-03 15:40

Rescuers have been digging an extra 385-meter-deep hole with the hope of reaching a working platform where most of 172 miners from one of the two flooded mines were believed to have trapped in Xintai, Shandong Province on East China's seaboard.

Up to now, the rescuers have dug 340 meters beneath the ground with a drill specially mobilized from Shengli Oilfield and will have to break through another 45 meters deep of soil before they could come to the working passage where most of Huayuan Coal Mine's 172 trapped miners were working, said sources from the headquarters for on-the-scene rescue operation.

"More water pumping tools will be added from this hole," said an official in charge of the rescue operation.

Flood water swept through a 65-meter wide breach in the Wenhe River levee on August 17, inundating the Huayuan and Minggong mines, leaving 181 people trapped underground, including 172 miners from Huayuan Coal Mine.

Twelve water pumps have been put to service at the two flooded coalmines, of which, nine are operating near Huayuan Coal Mine.

By 6 pm on Sunday, water level of Huyuan coal mine fell to 37.96 meters, 54.64 meters down from the highest level, but rescuers have to reduce the water level by 67.96 meters in to reach the nearest location where some of the 172 miners might be trapped, said sources from rescue headquarters.

In the nearby Minggong mine, where 9 nine miners have been trapped beneath the shaft, water level dropped to 38.15 meters.

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