Day 10 of Shandong goldmine rescue: One miner reported dead
Published: Jan 20, 2021 01:46 PM Updated: Jan 20, 2021 04:36 PM

Rescuers are speeding up drilling operations while clearing obstacles at the site of the goldmine explosion in East China's Shandong Province. The trapped miners are 200 meters below the obstacle in the shaft. Construction workers are working round the clock to move down the shaft to cut away the obstacle. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

One of the miners trapped in a goldmine in Shandong Province has died, according to message received from other trapped miners on Wednesday night. The miner had been hit on the head during the explosion 10 days ago. 

As of 11 pm Wednesday, of the 11 miners who are in contact with rescuers, eight are in good condition and two are weak, according to an official update.

Ten days after the fatal goldmine explosion in Qixia, East China's Shandong Province, frontline rescuers and medical workers continued to make all-out efforts to save the 22 miners trapped underground. However, the on-site rescue chief told the Global Times it's not known when the miners might be rescued.  

A life detector has been lowered 627 meters into the mine, arriving at the section where the 10 missing miners are reported to be. A rescue team is starting the drilling of another life rescue channel on Wednesday afternoon. Obstacle clearance has reached below 350 meters. 

As of 8 pm Tuesday, one of the trapped miners was reportedly suffering from a critical injury to the head. Eight are in good condition and two have mild discomfort, according to the official update.

A medical team of doctors and psychologists has arrived at the site to provide individualized care to the miners. None of them has shown signs of mental trauma, experts say. 

The rescue has accelerated but remains "extremely difficult," chief on-site rescue expert told the Global Times on Wednesday afternoon. Experts also suggested stronger mental and psychological support to the miners. Read more here

This is a developing story which will be updated through Wednesday. Read GT's coverage of DAY-9 rescue here.

11:01 pm, January 20 -- Miner reported dead

One miner who was in a coma has dies, trapped miners report, according to CCTV. 

The miner suffered head injuries during the explosion: He was reported to have fallen into a coma on Tuesday. His condition worsened on Wednesday and he died on Wednesday night. The other miners reported his death to the ground through a phone. 

Of the 10 miners who have been in contact with rescuers, eight are in good condition, and two are feeling weaker.

6:05 pm - Obstacle clearance reached below 350 meters

Obstacle clearance work has been carried out to the depth below 350 meters in the shaft and is approaching the 11 miners who have not yet been contacted, said an on-site rescue expert, CNR reported. 

3:58 pm, January 20 - Rig starts drilling life rescue channel

The drilling process has started for the previously mentioned No.10 borehole as a life rescue channel. One drill rig is in place, CNR reported.

3:56 pm, January 20 - Backup life support channel applied due to flood risk

After the No. 3 borehole penetrated ground, some water was introduced into the well, posing a certain threat to the trapped miners. 

The expert team decided to activate the No.4 borehole as a backup life support channel, and the casing work has now been completed. After its penetration, it will take over from No.3 borehole as a life support channel.

2:50 pm, January 20 - Rescuers send down Laba porridge on traditional festival

January 20 is the day of the Laba Festival, a traditional event in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which literally means "the eighth day of the 12th lunar month." Rescuers sent down Laba porridge, a special festival dish containing a nutritious mix of grains, beans, millet and other ingredients for the miners, The Paper reported. 

2:29 pm, January 20 - one injured miner in deep coma

A miner is currently in a deep coma and not responsive to calls, said a medical expert, local media outlet reported. 

He suffered a blow to the head in the previous explosion and went into a coma on Tuesday.  

Emergency medication has been sent down, but it is difficult to feed the wounded. Considering the complicated environment underground, it is not optimistic about the miner's condition, said the medical worker.

To ensure he receives the greatest care, medical experts have given the other miners some medical knowledge. The team told the miners to strengthen their care and assistance for him, and to provide prompt feedback for further treatment.

As of 2:29 pm on Wednesday, of the 11 trapped miners who have resumed contact with rescuers, eight are in stable condition. The two people who felt unwell earlier are still relatively weak. 

12:53 pm, January 20 - drilling of life rescue channel starting in hours

Borehole No. 10, the first channel for life rescue, will be drilled on Wednesday afternoon, The Paper reported. 

The borehole will be wide enough for the miners to ascend to the ground. It is currently not known when the drilling will be completed. 

8:48 am, January 20 - life rescue channel to be drilled soon

Another channel for rescue will be drilled soon, China National Radio (CNR) reported on Wednesday. 

Borehole No. 10 will be the first channel for rescue other than the well bore to be drilled at the rescue site. The rescuers are working on leveling the site, and drilling will be started as soon as possible. 

Borehole No. 10 will be 710 millimeters wide, wider than any of the current drilled channels. 

Previously, the rescue teams had drilled nine boreholes, including two for live maintenance and surveillance, two for water drainage, and three for auxiliary detection. Two boreholes were abandoned due to uncleanable obstacles and excessive deviation. 

12:10 am, January 20 - life detector lowered 629 meters

A life detector has been lowered 629 meters as of 9 pm Tuesday, arriving at the section where the 10 missing miners are reported to be, China National Radio (CNR) reported on Wednesday. 

The 11 miners who have established contact with rescuers were all located in the Fifth Central Section, about 350 meters from the shaft. The other 11 were reported to be operating at greater depths, more than 400 meters from the shaft in the Sixth Central Section, at the time of the accident.

One of the miners operating in the Sixth Central Section contacted the 11 men in the Fifth Central Section after the accident took place, underground miners said. They have lost contact in the past few days. Contact with the other 10 miners has been lost.

The drilling depth of 629 meters is the deepest surface drilling rescue depth in recent years. 

11:41 pm, January 19 - drilling and obstacle clearing extremely difficult on site, but rescuers remain confident

Rescuers are currently facing difficulties in two areas: clearing the borehole during construction, and the low efficiency of rescue due to the small space downhole, said Chen Yumin, rescue team leader, local media outlet reported. 

Chen said that the drilling of the rescue channel also encountered great difficulties in the implementation process. "We have never met this kind of difficulty before, because the explosion occurred right next to the wind shaft, creating a big impact. All the facilities were completely swept away. The objects were all intertwined with each other, so it was difficult to clean up."

The shaft is only four meters in diameter, leaving limited space for rescuers. "Only three or four people can go up to work each time. As the work surface cannot be spread, the labor efficiency is greatly reduced. The cleanup speed has been very slow," Chen said.

The team have brought the best equipment from all over the country, as well as the best technology and construction personnel, giving great support to the construction work. Chen said, "We are confident that through our work, the miners will return to the surface safely as soon as possible."

11:19 pm, January 19 - miners ask for backup phone

"Please send down another phone as a backup. If we lose contact with you, we can't find the Party [the Communist Party of China]," read a note from the trapped miners to rescuers on Tuesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Previously, the telephone line had been briefly withdrawn in order to send food through the borehole. The phone in the goldmine also experienced failures on a few occasions. The note was received by rescuers during the interval between calls. Rescuers had placed multiple waterproof backup telephones downhole, which will replace the original one if it fails again.

Global Times