The incident happened near Qixia city, in eastern Shandong province. of China. The nine days have seen dwindling food supplies and rising water levels threatening the lives of the miners.
After days without any signs of life, some of the miners managed to send a note up attached to a wire the rescuers had dropped into the mine on Sunday.
Pleading for help, the handwritten message said a dozen of them were alive but surrounded by water and in need of urgent medical supplies.
The note also indicated that several of the miners were severely injured. It added that the group needed medical supplies and drugs, and ended with: “Keep on with the rescue efforts. We have hope, thank you.”
A subsequent phone call with the miners revealed 11 were in one location 540 meters below the surface. Another – apparently alone – is trapped a further 100 meters down.
The whereabouts and condition of the other 10 gold miners are still unknown. Rescuers have already dug three different channels and sent food, medicine, paper, and pencils down the thin shafts – lifelines to the miners cut into the earth.
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