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Three trapped Chinese miners rescued after 8 days underground

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Miners were trapped in mine shaft after accident on October 17
  • Spent eight days underground before being rescued on October 25
  • Mine accidents are common in China; 3,215 people died last year
  • Three men were taken to a hospital in stable condition, local press said
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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Eight days after they were trapped in an underground mine in northwest China, three coal mine workers were rescued early Sunday, state media said.

The three men were taken to a hospital in stable condition, the China Daily newspaper said.

The men had been stranded in the shaft of a mine in Shanxi province since an accident in the colliery on October 17.

Of the 27 workers in the shaft at the time of the accident, 24 escaped -- leaving the three trapped inside.

Mine accidents are common in China.

Earlier this month, 26 people died in a mine accident in central Hunan Province. The October 8 accident occurred when a brake failure caused two elevators carrying 31 miners in a tin-ore mine in Lengshuijiang city to plunge, rescuers told the newspaper.

Last year, 3,215 people died in China's coal mines, down about 15 percent from the 2007 toll, the State Administration of Work Safety reported.

Government figures show almost 80 percent of the country's 16,000 mines are illegal with lax work safety procedures.