MNN Galleries

10 great escapes

By: MNN Admin on Oct. 12, 2010, 4:39 p.m.
An abandoned, flooded mine.

Photo: By Vladislav S/Shutterstock

11 of 13

Flooded Chinese mine

A group of Chinese miners were constructing a mine in Wangjialing on March 28, 2010 when they hit an abandoned shaft filled with water — enough water to fill more than 50 Olympic-size pools — and a wave came rushing into the mine.

By clinging to walls and creating makeshift boats from mining carts, 115 miners were able to stay above water, and after five days of pumping the flooded mine, rescuers were finally able to hear voices and frantic tapping sounds. Through a pipe they dropped pens and paper and a glucose solution for nutrition, and after a week, enough water had been pumped out that rescue crews were able to enter the mine in small boats.

Forging through strong underground currents, rescuers were able to transport more than 100 men out one by one. The surviving miners were suffering from hypothermia, dehydration and ulcers from their long exposure to water, but they were alive. In 2009, more than 2,600 people were killed in Chinese mining accidents.