Rescuers in China hear 'knocking' as they scramble to save 22 coal miners
Rescuers prepare to enter a flooded coal pit last week to rescue trapped workers in China's Hengtai coal mine.
August 29th, 2011
11:49 AM ET

Rescuers in China hear 'knocking' as they scramble to save 22 coal miners

Rescuers struggling to save 22 miners trapped underground in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province reported hearing "knocking sounds" within the mine early Monday, according to state-run media.

The report from the Hengtai coal mine, which has been flooded for a week, came about 2 a.m. after rescuers knocked on the sides of a 900-foot-deep hole that was drilled Sunday to make contact with the miners. The knocking is believed to be a response from the miners, Xinhua reported.

Relief supplies including food, a lamp, pen and paper were lowered down the hole, and something shook the rope to which the package was tied, but when rescuers brought the package back to the surface, it remained unopened, Xinhua said.

Forty-five miners were working Tuesday when the flooding occurred. Nineteen miners escaped, Xinhua reported, and rescue workers are attempting to pump water out of the mine.

Three miners were rescued Saturday, and the body of a dead miner was brought to the surface early Sunday.

Li Guiying, 43, a wife of one of the miners, told Xinhua that her husband earns about 6,000 yuan ($940) a month and is the breadwinner for their family, which includes two children, 4 and 12.

"What should I do if he dies?" Li asked.

The news agency reported that Hengtai mine is one of many operating illegally, despite government attempts to shut down outdated mines. The mine was ordered closed in 2007, but the owner reopened the mine without permission earlier this month, Xinhua reported, citing the local work safety bureau.

Two officials have been sacked over the incident, which occurred when miners accidentally drilled into a neighboring mine, Global Times reported.

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Filed under: China • Coal mining • Mine accidents • Mining • World
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. mdmooser

    It's not Harlan County but the same rules always apply, brave people trying to provide for families, the best to all in the rescue attempt.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobo

      So true. I'm from Lexington and know several people from Harlan County. All hard workers just trying to provide for their families. Miners are a special breed.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chairman Meow

      Those guys dug themselves into a hole didn't they.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bill

    i thought that they were only allowed 1 child in china

    August 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Compassionate

      Some rural areas allow two children, especially if the first is a girl, because they need labor,

      August 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • thys hauptfleisch

      only in the cities.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • thys hauptfleisch

      even in the cities, if the mother and father were the only children in their family, then they can be allowed to have 2 children.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      thank you , i didn't realize that!!

      August 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • thys hauptfleisch

      picked that up for reading here and there!

      its a BIG country, i am sure there are many rules and exceptions to this 1-child-policy...

      August 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • debra424

      if they have more than one illegally, they have to pay a tax.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Draco Snakerton

    My great dragon empire will thrive!. Muahahahahaha.. Benji I find your comments racist..

    August 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Canadian Genius

    I'm surprised that it is possible to run something as large as a mine illegally in China, which strictly controls so many things. Could it be that some of these local officials were illegally on the payroll of this illegal mine?

    August 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • debra424

      probably. and now they will probably hang the mine owner.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. asdf

    China is slipping. I am surprised this story made the news. Normally they would just bury it like they would the miners. Pour some dirt/water in the mine and after while the knocking will stop and they whole incident will never have occurred.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chaiman Mao

      We push miners down hole to gain sympathy and IMP dollars.. Heehee You round eyes so stupid.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      yep its not like their has been a train scandal recently where after the accident they tried to bury the train cars. Take your 30,000 other party paid shills and go torture Falun Gong people or something.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. That Guy

    "They dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-Dum. Shadow and flame. A Balrog of Morgoth..."

    August 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Funk13

    honesty... what is wrong with you that you should say such a thing even in jest? I'm shocked you can figure out how to post a comment. people might ignore what you say or think it's funny but I've got news for you: you only betray yourself an Ignoramus.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funk13

      I hope that comment I replied to was removed. it was pure rubbish.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      grow a sack, dude.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • BisSir

      Anybody can tell me what "grow a sack" means?

      August 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. InFormed

    Wow, are you like 12 or something? Shh. Be quiet. The adults are trying to talk.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Admiral Adama

      From what I've seen from the adults I'm not impressed. You've had your turn. Go back to watching humpy ball and swallowing beer or sausage.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Admiral Adama

    Yes everyone.. Listen to "Funk". Whenever you seek great advice just ask Funk.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Peep

    They were trying to dig a hole to US

    August 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Doug

    @benji.. you are an idiot for making comments like this when folks are in grave danger or dead..

    August 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. grovestreet

    Oh God it's the creatures from The Descent.

    August 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan Tanna

    For future reference, when trying to be funny, it helps if it's funny.

    August 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Jesse

      @Dan Tanna: Shut up and let the adults talk ok? Now find me Candace Cameron so I can show her my new do.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Jesse

      @Dan Tanna: Shut up and let the adults talk ok? Now fetch me Candace Cameron so I can show her my new do.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Adult Behavior 101

    If a crisis does not exist.. Invent one.
    Tell the kids to run with scissors then chastise them for doing it. Instead of creating a world free of dangers the adults would rather run after you so they can look like caring protectors.

    August 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chinaman

    Tee Hee.. Me play joke.. Me put pp but I made up the coke part.. There no Kobe Black Mamba in shaft.. Shaft was good movie.. Shut yo mouf..

    August 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
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