Four miners trapped underground following a violent mine collapse in Shandong province were brought up to the surface on Friday following a 36 day ordeal.
The miners were trapped following a collapse at a gypsum mine which took place on December 25. Of the 29 men who were underground at the time, 15 have now been rescued and one is confirmed dead. 13 remain missing.
It was not until December 30 that a rescue squad managed to detect them underground and begin to supply them with food, water and additional clothing.
Prior to their rescue, a mobile phone was delivered to the four miners identified as Hua Mingxi, Zhao Zhicheng, Li Qiucheng and Guan Qinji.
“Thank you all very much, I feel relieved and secure now. Thank you for reaching for us in such cold weather, we will remember you forever,” the men said in a video recording which was aired by CCTV on January 30.
Government officials said it marked China’s first rescue of its kind, accomplished by drilling through rock with a large drill. The miners were then winched out using a capsule built for the operation.
“In the rescue history of the People’s Republic of China, this has turned a new page,” Gao Guangwei of the Chinese State Administration of Work Safety official told CCTV.
According to Cao Qingde, deputy head of the local hospital where the miners are receiving treatment, the four men have suffered no injuries.
The chairman of the Yurong company, Ma Congbo, drowned himself by jumping into a mine well in the early hours of the morning on December 27. The cause of the collapse remains unclear.
Following the release of the video, netizens have taken to Weibo to pray for the safe return of the miners in time for Chinese New Year.
Watch the video footage here:
By Eugenia Xiao
[Images via Xinhua]