'This is why rescue activities must go on'

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'This is why rescue activities must go on'

Two miners were rescued almost ten days after being trapped in a collapsed mine shaft in Bonghwa county, North Gyeongsang.
On Oct. 26, about 900 tons of soil fell into a vertical shaft, causing the zinc mine to collapse.
The two miners, both surnamed Park, aged 62 and 56, were isolated 190 meters (623 feet) underground. The older Park has been working as a miner for more than 25 years. He was well-informed on safety procedures and had even participated in rescue efforts last August, when a tunnel in the mine caved in.
After they were isolated in a collapsed tunnel and unable to find any exits, they climbed down a ladder to secure some space. They endured cold temperatures by setting up a plastic tarp and lighting a bonfire. The two lived on water and coffee powder packets they had taken to the mine. When they ran out of water, they drank underground water dropping down in the tunnel.
The emergency authority conducted a procedure to confirm their survival and secure an entrance to the scene simultaneously. When the miners were confirmed to be alive, the authorities sent down food, beverages, medicine, thermal insulation blankets and letters from their families.
After 221 hours, they were finally rescured.
It was said that the two miners were well enough to say “thank you” to the rescue personnel. They are now recovering at a hospital in Andong, North Gyeongsang.
“I was touched by their family. They believed that the miners must have been alive.”
“This is why rescue activities must go on when an accident occurs. Miracles do happen.”
“Their survival was possible because they were well-informed.”
“I thought there was only little hope. I hope they’ll be fully recovered soon.”
“I heard that similar accident took place before, in another mine owned by the same company. They should be more careful to prevent safety accidents.”
“Education on survival manuals and accident prevention needs to be more thorough.”

BY KIM EUN-SONG, BY HAN HYE-RIM [han.hyerim1@joongang.co.kr]
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