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Miners trapped underground since Christmas Day rescued alive

They were among 29 trapped in the Chinese mine.

CCTV News / YouTube

FOUR MINERS WHO had been trapped underground for 36 days in a collapsed Chinese gypsum mine have been rescued, state media reports.

The operation to save the men trapped more than 200 metres underground took two hours as they were hauled up to the surface one by one in a narrow capsule, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Dramatic footage released by CCTV showed rescue crews applauding as the men were brought above ground in Shandong province, eastern China.

The men were shown being wrapped in military blankets, blindfolded to protect their eyes, and put into ambulances.

They had suffered no major injuries and would soon be able to return home, Xinhua quoted Cao Qingde, deputy head of the local hospital where they are being treated, as saying.

Signs of life

The four were among 29 trapped when the mine collapsed on Christmas Day. Of the 29 miners, 11 were rescued the following day and one was pronounced dead while 13 remained unaccounted for following the rescue, CCTV said.

Rescuers first detected signs of life on 30 December.

The four were named by CCTV as Hao Zhicheng (50), Li Qiusheng (39), Guan Qingji (58), and Hua Mingxi (36).

Rescuers managed to contact the miners on 8 January, the broadcaster reported, and sent down food, clothes and lamps through a tunnel.

However, complicated geological conditions made the rescue difficult with crews having to face structural instability of the tunnel and falling rocks.

The incident was the latest deadly accident in a country where safety rules are often flouted to cut costs.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation, but industrial safety regulations are often flouted in China and corruption enables bosses to pursue profits at the cost of worker safety.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: China’s economy is slowing down big time – here’s what it means for everyone else

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