Workers rescued from collapsed rail tunnel

Updated: 2014-04-06 08:02

By Zheng Jinran(China Daily)

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Construction staff trapped for 85 hours after cave-in

Twelve workers who were trapped in a collapsed tunnel for 85 hours were finally brought to the surface unscathed on Saturday.

After being brought out of the collapsed railway tunnel in Hunchun, in the northeastern province of Jilin, at around 3:30 pm, the workers were immediately sent to a local hospital. All were reported to be conscious as medical staff conducted health checks.

Preliminary checks indicated that some of the workers had minor ailments such as bruises, but there were no reports of serious injuries, according to reports on China Central Television on Saturday evening.

The cave-in occurred at around 2 am on Wednesday in a tunnel on the Jilin-Hunchun High-Speed Railway. The workers were pouring concrete into the main structure when the tunnel collapsed without warning.

Rescue teams worked around the clock to free the trapped workers. On Thursday afternoon, rescue workers began installing a pipe to ferry supplies to the workers.

Hopes of finding the workers were boosted when rescue teams heard someone tapping on the supply pipe, which eventually connected with the workers at around 2pm on Friday. Rescuers shouted down the pipe and heard a response.

Workers rescued from collapsed rail tunnel

"We're all here, we're safe," shouted some of the workers, according to CCTV reports.

The shouts, which were the first contact with the trapped workers for approximately 60 hours, encouraged rescue staff and relatives.

Food, including bottles of millet porridge, and other supplies, such as flashlights, pen and paper, were passed to the workers through the pipe.

To reduce the risk of secondary incidents during the procedure, the rescue teams decided to install a second pipe on the left side of tunnel to allow the trapped workers to climb out.

Ten of the 12 workers are from Central China's Hubei province. Their families traveled to Hunchun on Saturday. Of the other two, one is a native of East China's Fujian province, while the other is a local resident, local media reported.

Construction of the Jilin-Hunchun High-Speed Railway started in October 2010 and is scheduled to end in October next year.

Tunnels and bridges account for 66 percent of the railway's total length of 359 kilometers, according to the Hunchun government.

 Workers rescued from collapsed rail tunnel

Rescuers comfort a worker after he was pulled out of a collapsed tunnel in Hunchun, Jilin province, on Saturday. All 12 trapped workers were rescued unscathed three days after the tunnel collapsed. Lin Hong / Xinhua

(China Daily 04/06/2014 page2)