One trapped miner shows no sign of life; rescue ‘extremely difficult’
Published: Jan 20, 2021 10:01 PM

Photo:Cui Meng/GT

One of the 22 trapped miners in East China's Shandong Province showed no sign of life as of Wednesday night, other trapped miners reported to the ground. The miner had been in critical conditions for a while due to injuries on head.

"We can't predict when we can bring them up," Du Bingjian, the on-site chief expert of the National Mine Emergency Rescue Geological Survey Team, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Du noted the rescue team is clearing the original wind shaft, which collapsed due to the explosion, and is drilling new boreholes simultaneously, which accelerated rescue work. But clearing the shaft faces many obstacles and the team must also guarantee the miners' living environment.

Rescue team leader Chen Yumin told local media that the explosion occurred right next to the wind shaft, causing the facilities to move out of place. The pipes and cables were all intertwined."

The shaft is only four meters in diameter, limiting rescuers' mobility. "Only three or four people can get down to work each time, greatly impacting the efficiency. The clean-up is very slow," Chen said.

Rescue teams have already opened boreholes to ventilate underground, and are now digging a drainage pipe to deal with flooding in the section where the miners are trapped, Du said.

The other 10 miners who are in contact have stable physical conditions, aside from one suffering a cold and two having a history of high blood pressure, Du said. Another miner was once contacted while the other 10 are still missing.

Rescuers sent down Laba porridge, a special festival dish containing a nutritious mix of grains, beans, millet and other ingredients for the miners, as Wednesday is the day of the Laba Festival on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. 

Experts also suggested stronger mental and psychological support to the miners. 

It is very common for people trapped in dark, enclosed spaces for long periods of time to develop psychological disorders, so in addition to nutritional supplements, rescuers also need to focus on psychological and spiritual support for the trapped miners, Pi Yijun, a psychologist at the China University of Political Science and Law, told Global Times on Wednesday.

The trapped miners have not shown signs of trauma, judging from notes and phone calls they made, experts said on Tuesday. 

To reduce the damage suffered by the miners after the rescue is completed, Pi suggested follow-up psychological counseling for them. "Personal files should be created for them, and long-term follow-up psychological and mental treatment and correction should be conducted."

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