South Korea: Two miners emerge alive after 9 days at the bottom of a mine

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South KoreaTwo miners come out alive after 9 days at the bottom of the mine

A zinc mine in eastern South Korea where two miners were working collapsed on October 26.

Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (center) welcomed the news.

AFP

Two South Korean miners who had been trapped in a collapsed zinc mine for more than nine days miraculously emerged alive Friday from a difficult rescue operation, officials said Saturday.

The two were trapped about 190 meters down a vertical mine shaft that collapsed on October 26 in Bongwa, in the east of the country. Impressive images broadcast by television channels showed them coming out of the mine on Friday, helped by rescue workers. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called their return “truly a miracle.” “Thank you and thank you again for coming back safely (when you were) at the crossroads between life and death,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday, also thanking the rescuers.

Authorities said the two survivors, ages 56 and 62, were in stable condition and believed to have started the fire and built a plastic tent inside a tunnel to keep warm. The survivors “had instant coffee with them, which I was told was their food,” said fire official Lim Yoon-sook. “They survived by drinking the water that fell into the gallery,” he said. Their loved ones, who no longer believed in it, jumped for joy at the reunion.

“I shouted: Dad!” Park Geun-hyeong, the son of one of the two miners, said with a glower. “I told him: You have now become a famous character”. The daughter-in-law of the other rescued miner, who closed her eyes after nearly ten days in the dark, reported that he first asked her who she was.

He smiled when he finally recognized her. “It still feels unreal,” exclaims Lim Yoon-sook. The news comes as South Korea observes national mourning after more than 150 people died in a stampede during Halloween celebrations in central Seoul last Saturday.

(AFP)

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