Chinese Mine Workers Rescued

Two workers have been rescued after being trapped for more than a week deep underground following a southern China mine collapse in which eight people died, state media reported.

Rescuers acknowledged the chances of finding more of the missing alive was increasingly unlikely at the coal mine in Heshan city in Guangxi region, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

But rescuers, who were offered two million yuan ($287 980) for each worker they pulled out alive, were not giving up, the report said.

The two survivors were found in a ventilation shaft 320 metres underground that was filled with sludge but still had space for air to pass, said Ye Fangyong, the deputy head of the rescue operation.

The two men, Liu Jiagan, 41, and Qin Hongdang, 35, told rescuers in weak voices that they survived by drinking water that seeped down from the shaft.

They were taken to hospital and were in stable condition, the report said.

Rescuers said they had heard faint sounds coming from the trapped miners at 3:00am on Sunday (local time).

A total of 71 miners were working underground when the accident occurred on July 2, but most managed to escape, the report said.

Eight bodies had been removed as of Sunday and 12 remain missing.

China’s coal mines have a notoriously poor safety record, which the government has repeatedly pledged to address.

In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mine accidents in China, according to official statistics – a rate of more than six workers per day.

Labour rights groups, however, say the actual death toll is likely much higher, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.