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14 rescued after 131 hours underground

English.news.cn   2014-07-20 13:47:04

KUNMING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Fourteen workers were rescued from a railway tunnel collapse in southwest China's Yunnan Province in the early hours of Sunday after more than five days trapped underground.

One person remains missing and the rescue operation continues.

People cheered and applauded in laughters and tears as the 14th trapped worker was brought out of the tunnel at 2:58 a.m. on Sunday.

Ambulances waiting at the entrance to the tunnel immediately took the survivors to the People's Hospital in Funing County, where the tunnel is located.

"They look OK, but need a thorough examination. Plus we believe they will need psychological counseling later. We have made plans to help them recover," said Xu Heping, the deputy chief of the provincial health department.

The about 20 meters of the 13.5 kilometer tunnel collapsed at around 4 p.m. Monday. More than 400 rescuers worked to free the trapped men.

At 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, rescuers managed to drill after more than 27 hours of rescue work and sent food, water and flashlights to the workers inside, while they were tried to remove the obstructions. The trapped workers helped to fix the broken electric wires on Wednesday and the power supply to the trapped area resumed.

However, in the following days, the rescue operation suffered a major setback as the drilling machine broke down, said Wang Jingjiang, deputy general manager of the railway company that runs the tunnel.

Using smaller rigs avoided tough obstructions, but slowed progress. A small tunnel was finally opened up on early on Sunday morning, said Wang.

Investigation into the cause the accident is underway.

Editor: Yang Yi
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