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Eight trapped workers saved from tunnel
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08:37, June 08, 2009

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Hou Caiyun is back at work cooking on a construction site now that her husband and seven others have been rescued from a tunnel that collapsed there.

"I saw my husband walk out of the trapped tunnel and I am so glad that no one got hurt," Hou, 29, told China Daily at the site in Sanya, Hainan province yesterday.

The eight workers had been trapped for more than 63 hours when they were rescued about 4 pm yesterday.

The tunnel was under construction when it collapsed.

Through a hole drilled 26 meters underground into the collapsed tunnel on Saturday morning, the trapped workers had sent out a note that read "Water. We can boil. Send food please".

They were relieved after getting food, drinking water and a flashlight, her husband, Gao Feng, 33, had told her in a phone call.

The accident occurred about 11:30 pm on Thursday in the Yingbin Tunnel on the expressway circling the city of Sanya, said Gao Ya with Changsha Road and Bridge Construction Company, which employs the eight trapped workers.

The eight were trapped about 150 meters from the entrance of the tunnel.

Hainan Governor Luo Baoming was at the site to oversee rescue work, which involved more than 100 firefighters, police and medical staff, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The rescue work was hard as the tunnel is funnel-shaped and heavy rains caused difficulties. After ruling out two rescue plans because of possible landslides, a demolition team dug a 22-meter rescue tunnel to the trapped site.

Rescuers used steel plates to consolidate the structure and tried to enlarge the hole so the workers could be brought out one by one.

Once out of the tunnel, the eight workers walked to ambulances with the help of rescuers and were undergoing checks at a local hospital yesterday.

Wen Junliang, the chief engineer of the company, told Xinhua yesterday that the shale sand and erosion common to the area make collapses likely.

An investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched, according to local government.

Xinhua contributed to the story

Source: China Daily



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