CHONGQING - Rescuers set off a blast in the debris of a landslide Saturday in an effort to open up a shaft to reach the 27 trapped miners in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
Rescuers search for survivors at the site where a landslide occured Friday in the Jiwei Mountain area, in Tiekuang Township, about 170 kilometers southeast of the downtown area, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Picture taken on June 6, 2009. [Xinhua]
Rescuers ignited explosives at 8:07 p.m. at a location calculated by experts to reach the shaft where the miners were believed to be buried.
More blasts are needed as about 1.5 million cubic meters of rock and dirt slumped 600 meters from a nearby mountain Friday afternoon, covering up the entrance to the mining pit.
Experts said ventilation, food and water could not be sent into the shaft and the air underground could only support the miners for about seven days.
Experts are still busy surveying and revising plans of future blasts.
So far, 72 people, including 21 local residents, the 27 trapped miners and 18 miners who worked on the ground, two telecom company workers and four passers-by, remained missing.
The accident happened at about 3 p.m. Friday at an iron ore mining area of Jiwei Mountain in Tiekuang Township, Wulong County, about 170 kilometers southeast of Chongqing's downtown.
Chinese vice-premier Zhang Dejiang inspected the site early Saturday morning, asking rescuers to try their best to save life while avoiding secondary disasters. Experts are called on to find out the causes of the landslide.