Four Chinese workers rescued from tunnel


BEIJING, AFP

Four construction workers who were trapped for eight days in a tunnel following an accident at a hydropower project in southwestern China were pulled out alive on Tuesday, state media reported.

The workers were trapped on August 20 when a water tunnel serving the large hydropower project in Yunnan province collapsed, Xinhua news agency reported.

They were kept alive by rescuers who dug a tunnel near to their position, allowing the four workers to be provided with food, water and first aid supplies in addition to precious fresh air, it said.

The report said the workers were sent to hospital for checks but gave no specific detail on their condition.

The rescue was the second miracle escape for China’s accident-prone industrial sector recently, after two brothers emerged from five days trapped inside a collapsed coal mine on the outskirts of Beijing on Friday.

The brothers drank each others’ urine to stay alive, eventually digging their way back to the surface several days after rescue efforts were called off.

Due to corruption and lax safety standards, China has one of the world’s highest rates of industrial accidents, especially in the coal mining industry.

More than 4,700 coal miners died last year, according to official figures, but independent labour groups put the real toll at up to 20,000 annually, saying many accidents are covered up.