28 Workers Still Trapped Underground in Shandong Coal Mine Fire

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Twenty-eight workers are still trapped underground after a fire broke out Wednesday at a coal mine in eastern China. Up next... we hear the story of one of the lucky miners who made it out alive.

According to local authorities, 28 miners still remain trapped underground after a fire broke out in a coal mine in Zaozhuang City, Shandong Province on Wednesday evening.

Miner Qi Qu was lucky enough to escape the blaze with 62 other colleagues on Thursday.

Qi is worried about what's happened 700 feet below the ground, as he tries to piece the story together.

Qi was on his shift underground when a phone call alerted him to the blaze.

[Qi Qu, Coal Miner]:
"I was told that there was smoke running out of the mine and a big fire had broken out underground."

Heavy smoke billowed out of the shaft after Qi and others reached the surface.

[Qi Qu, Coal Miner]:
"I was very worried about those trapped underground, and of any risks threatening their lives."

According to local authorities, an underground air compression device caught fire on Wednesday evening at Zaozhuang Fangbei Coal Mine. Ninety-one miners were working underground at the time.

The fast spreading fire blocked the exit of the mining area, preventing the first rescue efforts.

[Qi Qu, Coal Miner]:
"We tried to reach the fire scene. But the fire was so big that we couldn't do anything and had to retreat."

After the blaze was put, Fangbei miners have been sent underground in three shifts, in a round-the-clock rescue operation.

Qi stands waiting by the shaft exit for any information on the situation inside the mine.

Rescue efforts are still underway... in a race against time.

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