Chinese miners ‘rescued after 36 days’

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China’s CCTV showed dramatic footage of one of the men being lifted to safety

The first three of four surviving Chinese miners have been rescued after being trapped for 36 days underground, Chinese state media say.

They were lifted to safety at the gypsum mine in eastern Shandong province.

China’s CCTV showed dramatic footage of one of the men appearing on the surface and then being taken to hospital.

Seventeen people were trapped after the mine caved in late December; four of them were later found alive.

One of the trapped miners was declared dead. The fate of the others is unknown.

Owner’s suicide

The three miners were rescued late on Friday; their eyes were covered by masks as they appeared on the surface, reports say.

Local media say the men are in stable condition and are being examined in a local hospital.

More than 400 rescue and emergency workers have been involved in the operation.

For several weeks, they were tunnelling down to the surviving men, and water and liquids were passed down through a narrow borehole.

Footage from inside the mine earlier showed the four men sitting together. One of them was heard saying: “I feel relieved and secure now. We will remember you (rescuers) forever,” CCTV reports.

The mine collapse in the town of Pingyi on the morning of 25 December was so violent that it registered at China’s earthquake monitoring centre.

Local media later reported that police had enacted “enforcement measures” against several bosses at Yurong company which owns the mine, while local party officials had been sacked.

The company chairman Ma Congbo, drowned himself by jumping into a mine well several days after the incident.

China has a long history of industrial accidents. This incident came days after a landslide caused by construction waste in southern China left dozens of people missing and presumed dead.

The nation’s mines have long been the world’s deadliest, but safety improvements have reduced deaths in recent years.

Gypsum is a soft sulphate mineral that is used in building and construction.

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