Trapped South Korean miners survived 9 days by eating coffee

Trapped South Korean miners survived 9 days by eating coffee

These guys really ran on coffee.

Two South Korean miners have miraculously escaped unharmed from being trapped 625 feet underground for nine days — surviving with nothing to eat but powdered coffee.

The pair — ages 62 and 56 and both surnamed Park — were finally rescued Friday after being trapped for 211 hours after a zinc mine in Bonghwa collapsed on them on Oct. 26.

President Yoon Suk-yeol hailed their rescue as “truly miraculous.” 

Doctors revealed at a press conference that it was even more amazing given that the pair had been trapped without food or water.

“I heard they had 30 sticks of instant powdered coffee at first and ate them … instead of meals,” said Bang Jong-hyo, the doctor treating the pair, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“I think that helped a lot,” the Andong Hospital doctor said.

One of the miners recovering in hospital.
President Yoon Suk-yeol hailed their rescue as “truly miraculous.” 
YONHAP/AFP via Getty Images

“The miners also said they subsisted by drinking water falling from the ceiling after the first three days.”

Rescuers said the miners — who barely knew each other — had used plastic to build a makeshift tent and made a fire inside the cold tunnel.

Jong-hyo said the miners would not have survived had it taken even three or four more days to free them. Instead, he marveled, they are doing so well that they will likely be “discharged in days.”

Rescuers digging at the collapsed mine.
Both men were trapped for nine days with just instant coffee powder to eat and occasional drops of water dripping from the mine ceiling to drink.

“They are in quick recovery, mentally and physically. I bet they were in good physical state before,” the doctor said.

The elder of the pair, Park Jeong-ha, told the Korea Times that he fell to his knees crying when colleagues finally broke through and rescued them — insisting he knew they would never abandon him.

“We miners have nothing, we are just a bunch of poor men with nothing to lose,” he said. “We may smell bad but we are incredibly resilient and watch our friends’ backs. That gave me hope for the rescue.”

Still, now he is out, he is “troubled with nightmares,” he told Yonhap.

One of the two trapped miners stretchered to a waiting ambulance after 211 trapped underground.
Both men are recovering well and expected to be discharged from the hospital soon.
YONHAP/AFP via Getty Images

His colleague, who only gave the name Park, was a new worker who barely knew the man he would soon be trapped with for 211 hours.

“My head was paralyzed and I couldn’t think rationally … But I survived because I could rely on my superior who had many years of experience as a miner,” he told the Korea Times.

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