Efforts to reach the workers have continued since the explosion, about 240 meters (800 ft) from the mine entrance. According to rescuers cited by Xinhua, batches of food items, medical supplies, blankets, and nutrient solutions have been passed through a shaft to 10 workers who have shown “gradual improvement” in their physical condition.
According to state media, rescue teams are hoping to take out the miners from the 711 millimeter (28 in) diameter route. By Thursday afternoon, rescue teams drilled into mines of up to 18 meters, but heavy debris could attempt at a slower pace.
Gong Hetao, deputy head of Yantai’s publicity department, told a press conference on Thursday that the mines are blocked 350 to 446 meters (1,100 to 1,400 feet) below the surface by 70 tons of debris.
“Although the efficiency (of rescue work) has improved since the 20th, it will take at least 15 days to clean the rescue channel in the main shaft due to the voluntary size of the barriers,” Gong said.
The miners are already stranded underground for 12 days.
Gong said rescuers are making a variety of efforts to remove obstacles, including using high-powered machinery and deploying more rescuers.
There is growing concern for undocumented miners. Xinhua reported that some staff at the Chamber are using laser pointers and loudspeakers to help the rescuers locate their missing comrades, but have received no response.
Rescuers have also dumped smaller channels into other parts of the mine and are reducing nutrient solutions and making other means to detect breathing or motion, but no signs of life have been revealed.
Rescuers were heard for the first time on 17 January, after which the trapped ropes were heard. On Monday the miners were able to get a note to save. Xinhua quoted the note as saying: “We are heavily and in urgent need of stomach medication, painkillers, medical tapes, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people with high blood pressure.”