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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Trapped China miners dig way out
Two miners trapped by a cave-in at a Beijing colliery dug their way to safety after being entombed for more than five days, reports from China say.

The men were working at an illegal mine on the outskirts of Beijing when the rock fall occurred on 18 August.

Rescuers called off search efforts after two days, but the men crawled and dug their way to the surface.

They were taken to hospital, where doctors said that they had suffered kidney damage due to lack of water.

"They are getting better, but we still keep close observation on them," a doctor told Xinhua news agency. "They are not out of danger yet."

Rescuers searched for the men - two brothers from the Inner Mongolia region - for two days but stopped because of fears of another collapse, media reports said.

The men survived because they were experienced miners, China Daily said. The owner of the mine was reported to have fled.

Xintai flooding

China's mines are among the most dangerous in the world.

Chinese miners help dam up the breached river in Shandong province - 20/08/07
Hundreds of miners joined in the rescue effort in Xintai

About 5,000 deaths are reported every year, but independent groups say the annual death toll is much higher.

The Chinese government has introduced legislation aimed at cracking down on illegal or unsafe mines, but mine owners and local officials are frequently accused of ignoring government regulations in search of greater profits.

Last week, a senior provincial official admitted that there was "no hope" for 181 miners trapped underground by flooding at collieries in Xintai, Shandong province.

The workers were trapped when a nearby river burst its banks, sending flood waters cascading into the mine shafts.

By Sunday, 50m yuan (US$6.6m, 3.3m) had been donated for rescue efforts and for the families of the trapped miners, Xinhua news agency said.

Miners' families angry at disaster
23 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
China continues search for miners
20 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Hopes fading for Chinese miners
19 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
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28 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
China criticises mine cover-ups
19 Apr 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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