TIRANA (Reuters) - Three Chinese engineers have been found dead at the bottom of Albania's chrome mine at Bulqize after being trapped and killed by an explosion below ground last Saturday.
The bodies of the engineers were being brought up on Friday, following a week-long effort to reach them after a gas explosion caused massive damage at the mine and delayed a rescue team.
Rescuers had to clean debris as well as dig and ventilate another route to reach the three.
The Chinese Embassy said the three specialists worked for the Wenzhou Corporation of Mining Tunnel Design, which had been contracted by Albanian Chrome, owned by Albania's Balfin Group.
Rescue teams saw the dead bodies late on Thursday, bringing the first of them to an upper level on Friday. The two others lay close to each other, a local media report said.
"The teams are working to bring all of them to the upper level and bring them to the surface in the next three hours," an Albanian official told Reuters.
Three other Chinese miners suffered light injuries in the explosion.
Albanian President Bujar Nishani said he had been following news of the rescue efforts and was deeply saddened to hear of their deaths.
"I would like to make an institutional and human appeal to all concerned to take all necessary measures to make sure these tragedies are not repeated in Albanian mine galleries and that those responsible be brought to justice," Nishani said in a statement sent by his office.
Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Toby Davis