News Rescuers free 11 of the 22 trapped Chinese miners
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Rescuers free 11 of the 22 trapped Chinese miners

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Chinese rescuers have pulled 11 gold miners to safety, 14 days after they were trapped by an underground explosion, state broadcaster CCTV reports

Footage showed the first miner to be rescued, a black blindfold across his eyes, being lifted out of a mine shaft on Sunday morning.

The miner was extremely weak, CCTV said on its Weibo site.

Rescue workers wrapped the barely responsive man in a blanket before taking him to hospital by ambulance.

Later, another three miners, including one who was injured, were brought out from a different section of the mine where a group of 10 had been in touch with rescue workers for several days.

Three more from the same section followed in the early afternoon, and two more were rescued shortly after.

Two miners were shown walking, supported by rescue workers and wearing black cloth over their eyes.

Twenty two workers were trapped about 600 metres underground in the Hushan mine by the January 10 blast at Qixia, a major gold-producing region under the administration of Yantai in coastal Shandong province.

One other worker is reported to have died from head injuries sustained in the explosion, while the fate of 11 others is unknown.

The shaft is reportedly blocked 350 metres below the surface by 70 tonnes of debris.

Officials had said on Thursday it could take up to two weeks to clear blockages before they could drill shafts to reach the 10 men.

Rescuers have drilled additional shafts for communication, ventilation and evacuation of survivors.

Surviving workers had previously been given a nutrient solution, but rescuers are now able to provide regular food and drink, along with clothing and other supplies, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Authorities have detained mine managers for delaying reporting the accident for more than 24 hours.

The cause of the explosion has not been announced.

Increased supervision has improved safety in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5000 deaths per year.

However, demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting, and two accidents in Chongqing last year killed 39 miners.