Chinese rescuers free first of trapped miners

Chinese workers today rescued the first of 69 coal miners who had been trapped in a flooded shaft for more than three days, state media said.

Chinese workers today rescued the first of 69 coal miners who had been trapped in a flooded shaft for more than three days, state media said.

The 69 were trapped – uninjured – when the Chinese state-owned Zhijian mine in Henan province’s Shan County flooded early Sunday. Thirty-three miners managed to escape.

Rescuers had piped in oxygen and poured milk down the mine’s ventilation pipes in a bid to keep them healthy and buy time to save them.

By midday local time today, 31 miners had been rescued, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

It said the first, identified as Nan Jianning, was met by an applauding crowd.

Most of the miners were unable to walk unassisted and some were placed on stretchers.

China’s coal mines are the world’s deadliest, with fatalities reported nearly every day in fires, explosions and floods despite government efforts to improve safety.

Deadly accidents are often blamed on mine owners who disregard safety rules and fail to invest in required ventilation, fire control and other equipment.

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