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Trapped miner rescued after 11-day ordeal
By Xiao Ma (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-18 06:09

Rescue workers would generally give up hope 11 days after a mine collapse usually, there's little realistic hope of finding survivors.

But at a gypsum mine in North China, they did not and yesterday, they brought out an exhausted, but elated, miner to safety.

Yuan Shenglin, 26, had one simple message when first contact was made on Wednesday: "Please send a message to my family that I'm still alive."

His miraculous rescue started at about 2:30 pm on Wednesday, when rescuers about 200 metres underground heard his voice.

They inserted a plastic tube 5 metres through a heap of collapsed rubble and pumped in food and water to the other side.

The rescuers did not dare to dig a tunnel immediately for fear of another collapse and took a day to gingerly build a channel from a adjacent mine.

Yuan was yesterday brought above ground at Kangli Gypsum Mine in Hebei Province's Xingtai County and rushed to hospital.

Rescue efforts are under way for four others still missing.

The cave-in occurred on November 6 in Shangwang Village of Huining Township. The collapse affected two other gypsum mines nearby Taihang and Linwang mines, toppling many of their buildings.

Thirty-three people are confirmed dead and 34 were rescued. All the three mines were accused of illegal operation and the owners are detained.

Liu Fengshan, a county publicity official, said Yuan was fortunate because he was in a 1.5-metre-wide winch house at the time of the cave-in, and probably had access to water.

(China Daily 11/18/2005 page1)

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