Two miners trapped for more than nine days in a collapsed zinc mine in southeastern South Korea walked out alive Friday, authorities said, a miraculous ending to rescue efforts that once looked bleak.
The pair had been stuck in a vertical shaft about 190 meters underground at a zinc mine in the county of Bonghwa, 244 kilometers southeast of Seoul, since the mine collapsed on Oct. 26.
Rescue authorities said the two, both surnamed Park and aged 62 and 56, came out at 11:03 p.m. after 221 hours underground. They are in stable health condition and have been sent to a hospital.
Rescue workers began a search for the two on Thursday by drilling a hole and inserting an endoscope to reach the point where the two men were trapped, 190 meters underground.
“My father walked out of the tunnel on his own two feet in good health. It’s unbelievable,” Park Geun-hyung, a son of the 62-year-old miner said.
Rescuers said the miners were believed to have pitched a tent with plastic and made a fire inside a tunnel to fend off cold.
The miners were waiting inside and relying on each other with hope as they heard the sound of the blast from the rescue authorities, according to one of the rescuers.
The miners subsisted on instant powdered coffee that they brought with them when they went to work and by drinking water falling down the shaft after using up the coffee.
President Yoon Suk-yeol hailed their return.
“This is truly miraculous,” Yoon said in a Facebook post. “I am thankful and thankful again to them. My heart is deeply touched.”
Yoon also praised the rescue workers.
Source: Philippines News Agency