Chinese miners trapped underground for 36 days rescued

More than 400 emergency workers took several weeks to tunnel down to the trapped men.

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4 rescued 36 days after china mine collapse
Rescue workers carry out a body from a coal mine after an accident in Shenmu county, Yulin, Shaanxi province, China, January 7, 2016 Reuters

Chinese rescuers have pulled out four miners who were trapped 200 metres underground in a collapsed mine for 36 days.

The massive rescue operation involved more than 400 emergency workers, who took several weeks to tunnel down to the trapped men.

The cave-in happened at a gypsum mine in the eastern Shandong province on 25 December, trapping 29 workers. As many as 15 of them were rescued in the initial rescue operation and one person was declared dead. Thirteen are still missing.

"I feel relieved and secure now. We will remember you (rescuers) forever," CCTV quoted one of the save men as saying.

The men had survived on and water and liquids which were passed down a narrow borehole. Rescue workers were able to pass on provisions, clothes and lamps almost two weeks after the mine collapse.

Mine collapses and other industrial accidents are common in China, which is the world's largest producer of coal.

Local media reported that the gypsum mines in the area had been ordered to stop production over risky sinkholes but the owners continued operations.

Authorities launched a crackdown after the latest incident. Following police enquiries and the sacking of local party officials, the chairman of the company that owns the mine killed himself by jumping into a mine well.

In 2010, 33 miners were trapped for 69 days after the collapse of a mine in Chile.

This article was first published on January 30, 2016