Heat stroke killed three rescuers trying to reach 28 coal miners trapped for five days after a fire, one of four mine accidents in China in the past week.
Officials said the rescuers died Sunday fighting at the Zaozhuang Fanbeing Coal Mine in East China’s Shandong province, Xinhua news agency reported. The condition of the 28 miners trapped since the fire Wednesday remained unknown Monday.
A rescue center spokesman said all three rescue crew members died of heat stroke after working in temperatures that exceeded 176 degrees Fahrenheit at times, Xinhua said.
The fire started in an air compression unit more than 700 feet underground, and 63 of the 91 workers in the shaft at the time escaped. More than 1,000 rescuers and others have been working since then to rescue the trapped miners.
There were three other major coal mine incidents in the country last week, killing and trapping several miners.
In one of them, rescuers Sunday pulled out alive two of the 23 miners trapped since July 2 after their mine in Heshan in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang region caved in following heavy rains, Xinhua reported. Rescuers also have retrieved eight other bodies, leaving another 13 unaccounted for even as rescuers were determined to find them.
The two miners, one 41 years old, and the other 35 years old, were found on a ventilation lane more than 1,000 feet underground, and were reported in stable condition. The two were quoted as saying they survived by drinking spring water seeping through the top of the shaft.
In another incident also on July 2, a coal mine in southwestern China’s Guizhou province flooded, trapping 23 miners, but there has not been any report about them.
A gas explosion in a coal mine in northwestern China killed four people last Thursday. A fifth miner was injured seriously.