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The news agency reported that Hengtai mine is one of many operating illegally, despite government attempts to shut down outdated mines.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. RUFFNUTT (axle rose impersonater )

    they are "knock knock knocking on heavens door"...

    August 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Asia Minor


    August 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Big D

    @Uncle Jesse:

    Dan Tanna was from the TV show Vega$, you dolt.
    It was Danny Tanner on Full House.
    What was that comment about adults?

    August 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    I hope they can rescue them...


    August 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rock

    Snookie wrapped those short legs around me last night and her eyes opened and she begged me to let it go inside her...just thought you all should know.

    August 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      OK, but what are you doing down inside the mine?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ronnie

      I really wouldn't admit that bro. She's kinda like the last resort.

      August 29, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gandolf The White (Not in a racist way)

    @Gandolf the brown: Better hurry up.. The Mouse might be taking a dirt nap pretty soon. Mice don't have very long life expectancies.. lol tee hee

    August 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Uncle Joey

    @The Little D: Cut.. It.. Out.. I don't know too many mature adults that watch Vegas.. Now go back to your STD swapping with Shaq. Little man. 🙂

    August 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Auntie A

    We can point fingers and make jokes, comment on the weird and childish things it can be in the mine shaking the rope, but what we all forget is one is dead and maybe even more. Be human for a minute everyone and stop to think of the families of the miners. Yes it was an illegal mine but these men were working calluses on their hands and breaking their backs to support the ones they love. Reflect for just a second people and forget about the finger pointing and joke making.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Jensen

      How does "shut up" sound when it hits your ears? get over yourself you condscending moron.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • grimm

      As a son of a coal miner and having my grandfather killed in a mine accident I would like to extend my sympathies to the families. And for all you trolls making jokes go put in a few shifts underground and see how much you feel like laughing afterwards.

      August 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • BisSir

      Hey Jeff, get this...nothing hits our ears on a post, not even "shut up". "Condescending moron" nice, please or mommy won't let you use the computer. This is a better example of condescending.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • KMax

      Amen sister, amen.>!!!!!

      August 30, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Asian Reporter Trisha Takinawa

    Tom I am standing here next to the flooded mine where the Chinese government is working hard to lower the emergency survival pack, a large box of little red books. These brave Chinese miners have been trapped without the glorious teachings for almost as long as they have been without food or water.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • RealityCheck

      Uh. Just checking, Trisha, but you might wanna update your clock by about 35 years. Senility can be hard to deal with, I know. Please consider retirement.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tom Tucker


    August 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Heywood Jablome

    (I had initially put some usual Heywood comments here that were gross, perverted and of poor poor taste–but then I realized this was not the forum for such comments–even stooges like me have some moments of clarity.)

    On a serious Heywood note–I truly hope and pray to GOD that these miners will be rescued and reunited with their families. I can't even imagine living is such a repressive and controlling society. I know I put a lot of immature stuff up as I did above–but this is a sad situation. Can you imagine being in those circs?? I hope that the mine owners and the govt officials who allowed this mine to reopen are held accountable. My prayers to GOD are with all those men, and I hope for the best. Call me foolish–but I do believe in GOD and Creationism. Yet I still respect the Atheists, Agnostics and Evolutionists–why??–because they have a right to their opinion. I may not agree with their positions–but so what–we can agree to disagree and still get along:)

    August 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ohh Herro


    August 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BisSir

    "What should I do if he dies?" Li asked. Is this a woman's first thought? What if the ATM is closed or is their a moment of, "we love him so much, we just want him to come home".

    August 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • RealityCheck

      Single mother with no source of income and 2 kids to feed in bloody raw Capitalism of the worst kind? Not a pretty picture. I don't blame her for not thinking about love when facing possibility of watching her children starve.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pennsylvania Coal Miner

    Many can make jokes, but stop for one minute and realize that this could be your family member, and THANK GOD it is not! As a coal miner, I can only imagine what these families are going through right now, and what these miners themselves are going through. Being underground busting your ass, and your back is not the best of jobs, and a very risky one as well. I pray that the remaining miners are returned to the surface alive and well, and that those responsible for operating a mine illegally are held responsible to the fullest. And remember folks, if it were not for these hard working men putting themselves in a dangerous situation everyday, you would not have the benefits of keeping warm from the use of coal, as well as the many power plants that depend on coal production to produce electricity. So thank a coal miner for those things that you may takle for granted each and every day!!

    August 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BisSir

      And while your at it, give a nuclear physicist a hug since over 20% of the energy generated by the US is nuclear.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike w

    How does no one notice a coal mine reopening?

    August 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • RealityCheck

      Bribes, favors, and thugs.

      August 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
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