Workers trapped for more than a week in a Chinese gold mine asked for pickles and porridge to be dropped to them while they wait to be rescued, state media reported Tuesday.
The website of the People’s Daily said the request came after a telephone line was dropped to the group of 11 inside the mine’s No. 6 chamber. Another survivor of the mine explosion a week ago is inside an adjoining chamber while the fate of 10 others remains unknown, according to officials in the city of Yantai in the eastern province of Shandong.
People’s Daily said two of the miners were recovering from exhaustion and another was injured by the explosion that ripped through the mine on Jan. 10.
Medicine, food and liquids have twice been delivered to the workers, enough to last at least two days, Yantai mayor Chen Fei told reporters at a briefing Tuesday morning.
“Their overall physical condition seems to be pretty good,” Chen said.
The porridge requested, also known as millet congee, is a nourishing breakfast staple common throughout northeastern China. Pickles and chilies are often added for flavor and vitamins.
A brief video clip released by the city government Tuesday morning showed rescuers cutting through metal cages used to transport miners and ore that were blocking the shaft. Hundreds of rescuers were drilling six shafts in an attempt to reach the different sections of the mine.
Workers passed a note to the surface on Monday saying they were suffering from toxic fumes and rising water levels but calling on rescuers not to give up.
Mine managers have been detained for waiting more than 24 hours before reporting the accident, the cause of which has not been announced. The mine in Qixia, a jurisdiction under Yantai, had been under construction at the time of the blast.
Increased supervision has improved safety in China’s mining industry, which used to post an average of 5,000 deaths per year. Yet demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting and two accidents in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing last year killed 39 miners.