, BEIJING, Nov 5 – Forty-four miners trapped underground after a rock blast in a Chinese coal mine were rescued and brought to the surface on Saturday, CCTV state television reported.
Eight people had been confirmed killed by Thursday’s accident at the Qianqiu colliery in Henan province, and one remained missing, it said. Another 21 had earlier been rescued.
“Two of the three last ones to be brought out were in a fairly weak condition, but their lives are not in danger,” said CCTV, which was covering the rescue efforts in the town of Sanmenxia live.
A total of 74 people were in the shaft at the time of the accident, it added.
While mining accidents are common in China, it is unusual for so many people to be successfully brought to the surface alive.
The miners were trapped by a rock burst – a violent explosion caused by huge pressure -moments after a 2.9 magnitude earthquake, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
It was not immediately clear whether the earthquake directly caused the accident.
The colliery is part of the Henan Yima Coal Mine Group, a giant state-owned mining company.
In 2010, 2,433 people died in coal mining accidents in China, according to official statistics — a rate of more than six workers per day. Campaigners suggest the true figure is likely to be far higher.
China’s rapid economic growth has caused demand for energy, including coal, to surge. Critics say some mining bosses have put the safety of workers at risk to chase profits.