Workers race against time to rescue 17 miners

Updated: 2015-12-28 07:38

By ZHAO RUIXUE(China Daily)

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Workers race against time to rescue 17 miners

Rescuers work under 300 meters in the collapsed mine in Pingyi County, East China's Shandong Province, Dec 27, 2015. Eleven of the 29 people trapped on Friday in the collapsed gypsum mine have been rescued by Saturday morning. One died and 17 people are still trapped by Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]

The owner of a gypsum mine that collapsed on Friday in Shandong province drowned early on Sunday morning in an apparent suicide while assisting rescue teams attempting to extract the 17 miners still trapped underground, according to local authorities.

Zhang Shuping, mayor of Linyi, said that Ma Congbo, chairman of Yurong Commerce and Trade Co jumped into a mine shaft that had partly filled with water as he was assisting in the rescue at around 2:30 am.

He died in the water, Zhang said, adding that an investigation on the cause of the collapse is underway.

The collapse happened on Friday at the mine in Pingyi county, Linyi city. A total of 29 people were trapped. At press time, one was confirmed dead, 11 has been saved and the 17 others were missing and believed to be trapped.

Zhang said currently more than 700 rescuers are working to find survivors.

Gao Guangwei, deputy director of the National Administration for Work Safety Emergency Response, who is heading the technique group at the rescue command center, said passageways to a location where 14 miners are believed to be trapped are blocked with materials like concrete, which has impeded progress. Four drilling machines are in place to bore holes once rescuers get in touch with anyone still underground.

The Shandong provincial government issued a notice on Sunday ordering all gypsum mines in Linyi to suspend operations and perform safety checks.

The order includes mines in bordering Zaozhuang and Tai'an, as well as nearby depleted mines.

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