China / Society

Rescue plan rescheduled to save 8 miners trapped in collapsed mine

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-31 16:03

JINAN - Rescuers on Thursday stopped tunneling through a collapsed mine shaft in East China's Shandong province to reach eight survivors, over concerns of secondary cave-ins.

Rescuers found signs of life on Wednesday morning, and made contact with the eight miners five days after the gypsum mine collapsed.

"The miners are generally in stable condition. Only one has suffered diarrhea," said Li Zhongjun, a provincial health official with the rescue team.

He said that they have sent provisions including a nutrient solution, clothes and lamps.

The accident happened at 8 pm Friday in Pingyi county. At the time, 29 people were working underground. One is confirmed dead, four escaped, and seven have been rescued, so far.

Gao Guangwei, deputy head of the Emergency Command Center of the State Administration of Work Safety, who is overseeing the rescue operation, said the rescue had been held back due to the structural instability of the tunnel and falling debris, and underground water has been gushing into the mine.

The team on Thursday agreed to review the rescue plan as the mechanical tunneling had increased the risk of new cave-ins.

Gao said rescuers were trying to open a new underground rescue tunnel to reach the trapped miners, while drilling more holes toward their location.

Previously, holes were drilled into the ground so that life detectors can be lowered into the pit. This had helped the team locate the miners. Currently, it is the only way the team can stay in contact and send provisions to the miners.

The owner of the mine drowned himself when working with the rescue team early Sunday morning.

The cause of the accident is still to be confirmed.

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