Two miners were chipping away at a zinc mine in eastern South Korea when a landslide collapsed their shaft.
The men, ages 62 and 56, were trapped almost 200 meters below the earth on Oct. 26. They had no way to escape and had scarcely any water—they drank droplets that fell from the shaft’s ceiling.
The pair also had 30 packets of instant coffee powder, which also contained sugar and cream, forms of carbohydrate and fat, respectively, that provided the miners with energy. They added groundwater to the mix and drank it, according to the South Korean newspaper, The Korea Times.
On Friday, nine days after their mine collapsed, the two men were found in surprisingly good condition. Rescuers helped them out and the pair were admitted into hospital, where they’re recovering quickly, South Korean outlet Yonhap News Agency reported.
Their remarkable escape, which comes less than a week after 156 people died in a brutal crowd crush in the capital Seoul, has been hailed as a “miracle.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeolthanked the miners for “coming back safely from the crossroads of life and death.”
According to Yonhap News Agency, emergency workers drilled a hole in the mine—located in the northeastern region of Bonghwa—so they could insert a small camera to locate the two men. After initial failed attempts at finding the workers, both with surnames Park, rescuers found them trapped and pulled them out on Nov. 4.
They were discovered sitting shoulder to shoulder to keep warm and had pitched a tent made of plastic. They also made a fire inside a tunnel.
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency, the older of the two Parks said he has nightmares about the incident, but “I feel like I’ve been reborn and am experiencing this world for the first time.”