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Rescuers attempting to reach trapped miners

By MAO WEIHUA in Urumqi and HOU LIQIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-26 09:23

A work group has been dispatched by the Ministry of Emergency Management to oversee the rescue operation to reach 18 people trapped underground after a mine collapsed in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The accident happened in a gold mine run by Western Region Gold Co in Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture at 1:40 pm on Saturday, while 40 workers were underground. Twenty-two miners were quickly brought to the surface.

The remaining 18 workers have been located and measures have been taken to improve ventilation in the mine shaft, said Lu Wei, chief safety officer of Xinjiang Nonferrous Metal Industry (Group) Co, the parent company of Western Region Gold Co.

He stressed the great difficulties facing rescue work, saying, "The conditions in the shaft are very complicated, and the rocks around the spot affected by the accident are not stable."

Rescuers have not managed to get in touch with the trapped workers, he added.

According to Ili's emergency management department, the identities of all those trapped have been confirmed. Five are from Sichuan province, while the others are locals.

Over 300 rescuers from different levels of emergency management authorities are now engaged in the rescue operation and 467 sets of emergency response equipment are in use, it said, adding that workers from local companies have also arrived with drilling rigs to help.

Emergency communication support vehicles have arrived and local power grid companies have installed temporary lighting facilities to assist the rescue operation.

Emergency materials, including tents, folding beds, blankets and winter garments have been sent to the location.

Wang Xiangxi, Minister of Emergency Management, asked for teams with expertise in mine rescues to be dispatched to help with rescue efforts.

"All-out efforts should be made to rescue those who have been trapped," he said.

A work group headed by leading officials with the National Mine Safety Administration, as well as three mine rescue experts, has arrived on site, according to a media release from the ministry on Sunday.

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