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Trapped Chinese miner survives 21-day ordeal

China's mining industry is one of the largest -- and most deadly -- in the world
China's mining industry is one of the largest -- and most deadly -- in the world  

HONG KONG, China -- A miner, buried alive for 21 days after an accident, survived the ordeal by drinking two handfuls of muddy water each day, official media report.

The miner, identified by state-run Xinhua news agency as Yang Xianbin, was trapped in a mine shaft in Central China's Henan Province on March 7 when the shaft flooded.

He was rescued on Wednesday -- rekindling hopes that rescuers may find alive six other miners still missing -- and taken to hospital where his condition was said to be normal.

Yang and his co-workers were trapped in rising waters during the flooding. Xinhua reported that he climbed up a tunnel, grabbing a mining lamp on the way.

The lamp had only eight hours of power left, but Yang used it only when he felt "extremely desperate", the report said.

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Yang said his only sustenance was two handfuls of dirty water each day.

With their often poor safety standards, China's mines account for thousands of deaths each year.

In an effort to limit the staggering toll of fatalities the government has passed several laws designed to ensure improved safety and ordering tens of thousands of mines to close.

However, China's massive demand for energy and an almost limitless supply of labor willing to risk working in the mines has meant many owners have kept their operations running illegally


• China faces uphill battle on safety
January 16, 2002
• China mine blasts kill 27
January 28, 2002

• Xinhua

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