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Two trapped miners feeling sick, one unconscious

By ZHAO RUIXUE in Qixia, Shandong and CANG WEI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-20 09:08
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Machines work around the clock to drill holes from the surface to the trapped miners, hoping to provide alternative routes to get them out. [Photo by Zhao Ruixue/for China Daily]

A miner who has been trapped underground for more than a week at the Hushan gold mine in Qixia, a city in Yantai, Shandong province, hurt his head during a blast last week and has lost consciousness, while two others are feeling sick, medical experts said.

The experts from the National Health Commission arrived at the site on Tuesday afternoon to be part of a team assigned to rescue the miners. They have worked with local doctors to teach the colleagues of the unconscious miner, who was in critical condition, how to give medical help and keep him under close observation.

Most of the 11 men trapped in one chamber of the mine, who had been living on muddy water for days, have regained strength after receiving four batches of life-sustaining nutrient solutions delivered down a drilled hole on Tuesday morning.

A wire has been inserted down a drilled hole to 11 men inside the mine's No 5 chamber. Another survivor is believed to be in an adjoining chamber, while the fate of 10 others remains unknown.

The miners were trapped after a blast on Jan 10. The rescuers were unable to speak with the miners until Monday, when a communication device was passed down the drilled hole to reach them.

The blast, which happened about 240 meters from the mine's entrance, trapped the 22 miners, who were working more than 600 meters from the entrance. The miners in the No 5 chamber said in a handwritten note that it contained a large amount of water and a high concentration of smoke.

Song Xicheng, deputy director of the medical rescue team, said the miners asked for pickles, ham and porridge after a telephone wire reached them.

Besides the nutrient solutions, rescuers also delivered supplies, including porridge, thermometers, tissues, note papers and blankets to the miners. More food will be sent down soon, Song said, adding that the medical team had created a detailed medical record for each miner.

Nutrients will be adjusted following more information about the miners' health conditions and the advice of the medical experts. Psychologists will be assigned to the miners to give them confidence, Song said.

A total of 589 rescuers from 16 professional rescue teams and one fire team, with 388 sets of rescue equipment, are working around the clock in shifts at the site, the emergency rescue headquarters said.

It said experts in many fields, including nutrition, orthopedics and neurosurgery, have gathered at the site to aid future rescue efforts.

"The number of workers cleaning up obstacles that block the shaft has increased from about two people at a time to about seven to nine people," said Ma Zhimin, deputy head of the air shaft obstacle removal team. The efficiency of clearing obstacles had been improved greatly by using bigger and faster equipment, he added.

On Monday, a new hole was drilled and reached a section 698 meters from the mine's entrance, where more miners are believed to be trapped.

The National Mine Safety Administration recently issued a notice urging a thorough safety inspection of non-coal mines to eliminate loopholes and prevent such major accidents from happening again.

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