10 missing at collapsed China gold mine confirmed dead

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Jan. 25 (UPI) — The remaining 10 gold miners who became trapped and unaccounted for following two explosions a couple weeks ago were confirmed dead on Monday.

Chinese authorities said rescuers have recovered their bodies from the mine, which was caved in by the blast on Jan. 10. A second explosion occurred about a half hour later.

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Rescue teams pulled 11 miners to safety on Sunday, but didn’t know the fates of the other 10 still trapped in the gold mine, located in Qixia in China’s Shandong Province.

All the miners had been trapped about 2,000 feet below the surface. The mine was under construction at the time of the explosions.

Yantai Mayor Chen Fei said rescuers started confirming the dead on Monday.

“The bodies of nine miners … [indicate] they were killed by the second blast as they tried to escape following the first explosion,” Chen said.

Xiao Wenru, chief engineer at the emergency ministry’s mine rescue center, said Monday the survivors lived because they had access to water and fresh air in their section of the mine.

Authorities don’t know yet what set off the explosions.