The miracle in Shanxi

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-06 07:55
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Editor's note: Thanks to rescuers' non-stop efforts, most trapped workers of Wangjialing mine accident have survived.  However, our work-safety watchdogs and government departments must find reasons for these similar accidents and put work safty a top priority.

The impossible happened at Wangjialiang, North China's Shanxi province: 115 miners of the 153 trapped after a deadly mine accident nearly 200 hours ago have survived.

The miracle can be partly credited to the well-organized rescue efforts and the hard work by more than 3,000 rescuers who kept pumping water out of the flooded mine shaft around the clock. The rescuers kept working and working efficiently and never gave up hope that they would find at least one of the miners alive in the shaft.

Related readings:
The miracle in Shanxi Rescue of 115 miners a miracle
The miracle in Shanxi Miracle rescue from flooded mine
The miracle in Shanxi Rescue of trapped miners in Shanxi continues

More than 130,000 cubic meters of water flooded the mine shaft more than a week ago. To pump out the water, a 14-ton pump had to be installed 600 meters deep in the shaft, which required workers to disassemble the pump, transport the parts into the steep shaft and reassemble it inside. They spent seven hours installing the pump. By Saturday more than 80,000 cubic meters of water had been drained out and the water level had receded by 5 meters.

Rescuers are still fighting against time to get the remaining survivors out of the shaft and reach the bodies of the dead. We hope that the survivors will make a full recovery.

While we congratulate the survivors and give our sincere condolences to those who are grieving for their loved ones, we condemn those who failed to do their duty that led to the deadly accident and the loss of lives. Had they given enough attention to the warnings from workers about an impending flood, this accident would not have taken place.

Why have similar accidents failed to teach coalmine leaders a lesson about work safety?

Work-safety watchdogs and government departments must find an answer to this and find out a way to make coalmine owners or officials consider work safety a top priority.

(China Daily 04/06/2010 page8)