Authorities have been racing to dig out 22 people trapped underground in the city of Qixia, Shandong Province, since an explosion blocked their exit on January 10.
The first miner was rescued on Sunday morning at about 11:13 a.m. local time, and was in “extremely weak condition,” according to state-run news wire Xinhua. State broadcaster CCTV said he was sent to hospital.
The next 10 were lifted from a deeper section of the mine. At least one of them was injured, according to CCTV, but it is not clear how seriously.
Food, medical supplies, blankets, and batches of nutrient solution have been passed down a shaft to the 10 workers who have been located. They are in good physical and psychological condition, Xinhua reported.
According to state media, rescue teams are hoping to pull the miners out through a 711-millimeter (28-inch) diameter passage. By noon Thursday, rescuers had drilled 18 meters (59 feet) into the mineshaft but heavy debris could slow efforts.
Concern has been growing for the uncontacted miners. Some of the workers in the chamber are trying to help rescuers locate their missing colleagues by using laser pointers and loudspeakers, but they have received no response, Xinhua reported.
Rescuers have also drilled smaller channels into other sections of the mine and are lowering nutrient solutions and other means to detect breathing or movement, but no signs of life have been encountered.
Rescue workers are reported to have first heard knocking sounds from those trapped on January 17, followed by pulling on iron ropes. On Monday, miners were able to get a note to rescuers. Xinhua quoted the note as saying: “We are heavily exhausted and in urgent need of stomach medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure.”