Rescuers in China have freed nine miners who have been trapped 600m underground for two weeks, state media report.
They have been stuck since an explosion closed the entrance tunnel to the Hushan gold mine in Shandong province on 10 January.
Eleven miners were initially known to have survived the collapse, but one later died.
A telephone connection has been set up and medicine and food have been lowered via a long, narrow tunnel.
The cause of the explosion that sealed the mine entrance is still not known.
TV footage showed the first miner brought to the surface, as emergency workers cheered. He was blindfolded to protect his eyes from the light and was immediately taken to hospital for treatment.
The miner brought to the surface was “extremely weak”, said a post on CCTV’s Weibo microblog site.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 24, 2021
About an hour after his rescue, eight more miners were brought out from a different section of the mine. CCTV said one of the miners among this group was injured.
Two others are still believed to be alive inside the mine, awaiting rescue.
The fate of a second group of 11 miners trapped by the blast is unclear – authorities have been unable to communicate with them despite lowering food and messages into other areas of the mine.
This first man to be rescued had been trapped in a different part of the gold mine to the main group of 10 who have been receiving food and medicine for days.
Rescue efforts have been sped up significantly, as a tunnel that was being bored out to reach them was expected to take weeks to dig.
The group discovered alive told rescuers they had established communication with a lone miner about 100m below them, but had since lost touch with him.
The entry into the mine was severely damaged and communication was cut off by unexplained explosion.
For a week, there was no sign of life. Then, last Sunday, rescuers felt a pull on one of the ropes they were lowering into small shafts leading down into the dark.
A paper note was then sent up on a rope from a group of 12 surviving miners – 11 trapped in one place and a 12th trapped further below.
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