China mine explosion: Death toll rises to at least 10

A total of 22 workers were trapped after blast two weeks ago

Miners rescued in China after two weeks underground

At least 10 people have now died after being trapped hundreds of metres underground after an explosion in the shaft of a gold mine in China two weeks ago.

The new death toll comes after nine bodies were discovered by rescuers on Monday in the eastern province of Shandong. It was reported last week that another miner had died from a head wound. 

The blast on 10 January caused debris to block the shaft, which was still under construction, trapping miners underground.

Eleven miners have since been rescued, with teams now desperately trying to save the one remaining worker still trapped.

“Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai city, where the mine is located.

The mayor and other officials involved in the rescue effort held a moment of silence for the victims.

A total of 22 miners were trapped about 600 metres underground after the explosion at the Hushan mine.

The cause of the blast is not yet clear, and investigators are looking into it.

Last week, trapped miners passed a handwritten note through a rescue shaft, telling those working to get them to safety that 12 were still alive.

The message said several miners were wounded, that the conditions of others were getting worse because of the lack of fresh air and water, and that some urgently needed medicine.

China-Mine-Explosion

The explosion released 70 tonnes of debris that blocked a shaft, disabling elevators and trapping workers underground.

Rescuers drilled parallel shafts in order to send down food and nutrients, and to eventually bring up the survivors on Sunday.

The first worker brought to the surface wore a black blindfold to protect his eyes after spending a fortnight surrounded by darkness, footage of the rescue showed. 

The 11 miners taken to safety at the weekend were mostly in relatively good health. 

Just days before the miners were rescued, officials had suggested they would need another fortnight until they would be able to reach them. 

Mine managers have been detained over delays in reporting the accident.

Additional reporting by agencies

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