Chinese Miners Rescued From Collapsed Mine, 10 Still Missing


Photo By Boris Ngounou

11 out of the 22 workers trapped inside a Chinese gold mine located in Qixia were brought to safety on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Boris Ngounou.

By Amy Simon, Opinions Editor

After being trapped inside a Chinese gold mine located in Qixia for two weeks, 11 workers were brought to safety on Sunday. The workers were seen with black blindfolds shielding their eyes to protect themselves after being in the dark for so long. They were immediately greeted with coats amid the near-freezing temperatures and were directly sent to the hospital for further inspections. 

Originally, there were 22 workers in the gold mines. One worker has been reported dead from a head wound following the explosion. The other 10 workers have not been found, however, miners have continued to look for the missing group by pointing laser pointers down small gaps and blasting words off of loudspeakers in hopes of getting a response.

A brief video clip was released to the public showing rescuers cutting through metal cages used to transport miners to get to the trapped workers. Hundreds of workers were seen drilling six shafts in an attempt to reach different parts of the mine to see if any workers were trapped there. In addition, the workers trapped in the mine passed a note to the surface saying that they were suffering from the toxic fumes and rising water levels and begged the workers to not give up. In addition, they also asked for pain killers and thanked the workers for bringing the rescue team.

Although mining procedures have become safer throughout the years, the annual death rate is still high. According to the National Mine Safety Administration, in 2020, there were 573 mining-related deaths, which was a significant decline from the 5,000 fatalities 20 years ago. Director of China Labour Bulletin, a workers’ rights advocacy group, Han Dongfang said in a press release that the decrease in mining accidents was not necessarily due to mines becoming safer, but because smaller mines that usually had poorer safety records closed down.

“From the work we’ve done in the past few years, talking to labor unions in China and trying to hold them accountable, our observation is that the workplace safety monitoring has not changed at all,” Han said. “One of the most important reasons for the drop in coal mining accidents is the reduction in coal production in China.”

The cause of the accident is under investigation but the explosion was large enough to release 70 tons of debris that blocked shafts and disabled elevators. The municipal government reported that the accident was not reported to the local authority until 30 hours after it happened, causing a serious delay in the rescue effect and lowering the chances of finding the workers. Authorities have detained the mine managers on deck the day of the explosion for delaying reporting the incident.

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