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Miner Rescued After Nine-Day Wait

July 26, 1998

VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ A miner feared dead after a massive landslide buried him and 10 others in a talc mine was rescued late Sunday. There was no word on the 10 others.

Austrian television interrupted its regular programming as Georg Hainzl was hoisted by cables from the 200-foot-deep eating area where he was trapped by a mudslide during heavy rains July 17.

A second, larger mudslide buried 10 others who had been sent to rescue him after the accident in the town of Lassing, 120 miles southwest of Vienna.

They are believed to have plunged to the bottom of the mine, which produces the minerals used in refining talcum powder, when the mudslide cut the cable of their emergency elevator.

Floodlights were shut off during the late night rescue as Hainzl was brought to the surface to avoid damaging his eyes after nine days in darkness.

Hainzl, whose girlfriend was on hand, was examined by doctors at the scene. He was expected to be transported to a hospital in the provincial capital Graz. There was no word on his condition.

Earlier in the day, Austrian officials had said there was no chance that Hainzl or the others could still be alive so long after the accident.

But later Sunday, the teams heard what they thought was a voice. After lowering a microphone into an emergency shaft, Hainzl made voice contact and said his only complaint was that his feet were cold and wet.

The mudslides left a crater 165 feet deep and about 500 feet in diameter. Several houses in the small mountain community tumbled into the pit.

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