A blast in a gold mine in eastern China trapped 22 men below ground on Jan. 10. One week later, 12 of those men managed to get word to the top that they were still alive. The BBC reports that after rescuers determined ropes they had lowered into a narrow shaft were being tugged on, they lowered food, medicine, and paper and pencils into the hole. The note they pulled back up on Sunday night implored them: "Don't stop trying to reach us." The miners requested additional medicine and medical tape; the AP reports the note said a third of the men were injured and that the others were suffering from a lack of fresh air and an inflow of water.
The whereabouts and condition of the other 10 miners are unknown. Rescuers believe the workers known to be alive are about 2,000 feet from the entrance, and a rescue shaft is under construction, with more than 300 workers toiling away. CGTN reports workers are also trying to clear a shaft that was ruined in the blast, but that it's slow-going: "There are large amounts of obstacles stuck in the shaft. Wires, ropes, cables, steel bars, all these are tangled up together," says a rescuer, who explains that no more than three rescuers can be sent down at a time; they manually clear those blockages and bring them to the surface. The blast went unreported for 30 hours, reports Reuters, delaying the start of the rescue effort; two local officials lost their jobs as a result. (Read more trapped miners stories.)