China Ramps Up Search and Rescue at Collapsed Coal Mine

Search and rescue efforts have been ramped up at a collapsed opencast coal mine in north China’s Inner Mongolia, as experts have optimized the rescue scheme and adopted simultaneous operations in multiple working areas by using more cutting-edge equipment and technologies, according to a rescue expert on Friday.

The open-pit coal mine collapsed in Alxa Left Banner in Inner Mongolia at around 13:00 local time Wednesday, leaving dozens of workers and vehicles buried under a huge pile of debris about 80 meters high, equivalent to a 20-story building.

The collapse has so far left six people dead, six injured, and 47 others missing, according to the local authorities on Thursday afternoon.

A total of 23 rescue teams with about 1,200 members have been dispatched to work on site.

In view of the large working area and many rocks on site, excavators and breakers have been put into operation.

During the rescue process, several landslides occurred on the site, adding difficulty to the rescuers.

“The collapsed body is very large, with a length of 200 meters from north to south and about 400 meters from east to west. The situation at the site is very complicated with a risk of collapse. The space for operation is so limited that a lot of equipment cannot be put into use for a quick rescue,” said Zhang Yong, head of the rescue expert team for the accident.

According to the rescue headquarters, the current rescue site is a north-south working line, and rescue workers have set up an east-west rescue channel to connect the rescue channels at the top of the landslide. They will also build a temporary road on the south side of the middle of the landslide to form a working platform, so as to advance the rescue operation simultaneously.

“We are clearing the upper part of the collapse body by layers. After that, we will be able to access to the buried personnel and equipment,” said Zhang.

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