A squad of armed police are digging out trapped workers in heavy clay with bare hands. (web pic)
BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- When a construction site accident buried two workers in heavy clay, there seemed to be little hope of getting them out alive. Fortunately for them, the site was on an armed police training route.
Photos have emerged online of the officers digging through clay to rescue the trapped workers from what could have been a grisly end .
The incident happened in Nanchong city, southwest China's Sichuan Province when clay at a construction site collapsed without warning, burying workers. In a case of extraordinary luck, a squad of armed police had just passed by on their usual training route.
Without hesitation, Dong Jianfeng and other 50 armed policemen jumped into action. Worried that mechanical work might cause further injury to the victims, they had to dig them out with shovels and their hands.
"Someone told us the workers had been installing drainpipes nearby, but the loose earth suddenly collapsed and buried them," said Dong.
Yao Xinglin and another worker were working in a 4-meter-deep trench before the accident.
"Shortly after we began, I heard someone shout 'run'. I took one big step, but it was too late." said Yao.
Yao and his co-worker were buried instantly by the clay with their standing posture and noses full of dirt. After a while of digging, the soldiers uncovered their heads so they could breathe.
"I just opened my mouth and took a deep breath. I completely trusted them to save our lives," said Yao.
However water from a broken water pipe due to the collapse made this rescue operation more testing. "The workers would drown if too much water accumulated in the trench," said Dong.
Somebody went to find the water mains, while Dong took off his camouflage coat and shirt, and gave them to someone to stuff into the hole as a stop gap measure.
The water flowed more slowly and when a red safety helmet finally came into sight 20 minutes later, the soldiers quickened their steps digging out the worker's head and chest, giving him a oxygen bag and clearing away the earth around his lower part. Then the soldiers rescued another worker.
Four shovels were broken during the rescue and every soldier's hands were injured to some extent, but they didn't seem bothered.
"As a member of the armed police, it is our duty to protect people's lives and property," said Dong.