Day 11 of Shandong goldmine rescue: At least 15 more days needed for clearance work
Published: Jan 20, 2021 11:18 PM Updated: Jan 24, 2021 11:28 AM

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

It is now the 11th day of the goldmine rescue attempt in East China's Shandong Province, after an explosion on January 10 trapped 22 miners underground. 

One of the miners has died, according to message received from other trapped miners on Wednesday night. The miner had been hit on the head during the explosion.

The drilling of the life rescue channel is progressing smoothly, the on-site chief rescue expert told the Global Times. 

At least 15 more days are needed for obstacle clearance, said official on Thursday.

This is a developing story which will be updated throughout Thursday.

For day 10 developments in the rescue efforts, please check the following timeline.

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

5:00 pm, January 21 – At least 15 more days needed for clearance work

At least 15 more days are needed to clear obstacles in the shaft. 

Obstacle clearance efforts reached 358 meters below surface as of Thursday afternoon, officials said at a news conference on Thursday afternoon. 

The clearance work has met great difficulties, said the official. The broken gold mine is between 350 and 446 meters underground, and the debris to be cleared are expected to reach 70 tons, or 1,300 cubic meters. 

At the same time, the clearing efficiency has been improved, and the clearance cage was replaced with a crane tray, allowing seven people to go down the shaft at the same time.

The trapped miners' diet is gradually returning to normal, and now eat three meals a day, with a wide variety of food.

After restoring their normal diet, they did not experience significant discomfort, indicating that their health was improving.  

Every day, rescuers will monitor the temperatures of the miners and the underground environment to ensure their health and survival.

Psychologists on site are also providing them with psychological and moral support, such as writing letters of encouragement to them.

For the disposal of the remains of the miners who passed away on Wednesday, professional medical workers have communicated with the miners and taught them the proper way, the official said.

2:17 pm, January 21 - Life rescue channel drilling goes smoothly

The drilling of the life rescue channel, the No.10 borehole, is going smoothly, on-site chief rescue expert Du Bingjian told the Global Times. 

The large diameter life rescue channel is ready for drilling and the rescue crew is fixing the surface casing, Du said. 

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.

Drilling of borehole No.10. Photo provided by on-site interviewee Du Bingjian.

1:22 pm, January 21 - Food and supplies sent down through new channel

Another backup life support channel has been set up to replace the original one, the No.3 borehole, to prevent flood risk. The rescuers have sent down more food and supplies for the miners through the new channel, CCTV reported. 

10:21 am, January 21 - Pilot hole of life rescue channel reaches location

The pilot hole of the life rescue channel has reached its designated location 18 meters below ground, CCTV reported. 

After consolidation, the 710 mm drill will continue to drill down. 

Borehole No.10 is the first channel for rescue other than the well bore that will be drilled at the rescue site. Drilling of this borehole started at 3:30 pm. 

11:21 pm, January 20 - Two explosions occurred under the shaft, miners say

Two explosions occurred under the shaft, said the trapped miners, according to an official update on Wednesday night. 

The goldmine explosion in Qixia, Shandong took place on January 10. According to the latest message from the underground miners, there has been more than one explosion, reported China National Radio (CNR). 

11:01 pm, January 20 - One miner shows no sign of life 

One miner, who was previously in critical conditions, has died, reported trapped miners, according to CCTV. 

The miner suffered a blast to the head in the explosion. He was reported in a coma on Tuesday, and in a deep coma earlier on Wednesday. 

The other miners reported to the ground by phone that he shows no sign of life. The message was repeatedly checked by rescuers. 

Of the other 10 miners who have been in contact with the ground, eight are currently in good physical health. Two miners who have previously reported discomfort are feeling weak.

Global Times