Chinese miners freed after 25 days

BEIJING: Three miners have been found alive after being trapped for 25 days in a flooded mine in southern China, a local official said Monday.

The miners drank water that seeped through the earth, said Wang Guangneng, a Communist Party spokesman in the Guizhou province county of Qinglong.

The Xinqiao Coal Mine was flooded on June 17 while 16 miners were working underground, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Rescuers recovered one body a week later and are still searching for the 12 other men, it said.

Wang said rescue workers cracked open a collapsed tunnel at the mine Sunday and found the three miners standing there holding mining lights. It was not clear whether they had any information on the others missing.

A Xinhua photo showed one of the miners, Wang Kuangwei, his bones prominent through his skin, getting medical attention. The party spokesman said the three miners were in stable condition and will be transferred to a province-level hospital.

The three miners were trapped for 604 hours, the spokesman said.

China's mining industry is the world's deadliest, despite government promises to improve mining safety. Most accidents are blamed on failures to follow safety rules or a lack of required ventilation, fire-control and other safety equipment.