A group of miners working in an illegal shaft in China disappeared underground last week when they accidentally drilled into an adjacent, flooded shaft, trapping themselves. But on Tuesday, rescuers pulled 19 of them out of the pit, their clothes and faces black with coal dust and their eyes covered to avoid injury from the glare of sunlight. The miners became trapped on August 23, the Associated Press reported, but three were rescued on Saturday, along with one body. The AP has these details about their ordeal:
The survivors, who were hospitalized in stable condition, were able to keep their helmet lamps operating for the 165 hours they were trapped. They sustained themselves with water that dripped from the ceiling and later nutrition packs sent through a 920-foot (280-meter) pipe drilled through the rock, which also provided fresh air.
The Hengtai mine in Heilongjiang province was ordered shut in 2007 but reopened without permission on Aug. 16. Seven officials have been detained over the mine's operation and the head of surrounding Boli county and his deputy have been dismissed.
Rescuers are searching for three miners still missing underground.