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AS-China-TrappedMine 1stLd-Writethru 07-13 Web

3 miners survive 25 days in flooded mine

Three miners survived 25 days trapped in a flooded mine in southern China by drinking dirty water and chewing coal before rescuers burrowed through a collapsed tunnel to reach them, a local official and state media said today.

The men and 13 others became stuck when the Xinqiao Coal Mine flooded June 17. On Sunday, rescue workers digging into the mountainside cleared a path to the miners and saw their lights, which still gave off a dim glow, said Wang Guangneng, a Communist Party spokesman in the Guizhou province county of Qinglong.

The miners stayed alive by drinking water that seeped through the earth, Wang said. The Xinhua News Agency cited a rescuer saying that oxygen was also able to get into the tunnel easily.

They chewed on coal to stave off their appetite, the Guiyang Evening News, based in the provincial capital, reported.

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