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Chinese miners trapped for 6 days ate coal, cracked jokes about their wives

Chinese miners trapped for 6 days ate coal, cracked jokes about their wives

The Meng brothers felt pretty good about their chances of making it out of a collapsed coal mine in northern China, until the sounds of digging from outside stopped.
With no food or drink, they were forced to munch on coal and sip their own urine from discarded water bottles. When they were too exhausted to dig, they slept huddled together in the cool, dark tunnel.
Meng Xianchen and Meng Xianyou clawed their way to the surface after nearly six days in the tunnel _ and even managed to crack jokes during that time about their wives remarrying after they were declared dead, a state-run newspaper reported Tuesday.
The veteran miners' escape Friday after 130 hours trapped underground was a rare tale of survival in China's coal mines, the world's deadliest, where an average of 13 workers are killed every day.
"At the beginning, our cell phone still had power so there was a little bit of light. Two days later, the battery ran out so we could only feel with our fingers and listen," the brothers told the Beijing News.
Details of their ordeal came as rescuers in northeastern China's Shandong province tried to reach 181 miners trapped in two flooded coal shafts. Officials said Tuesday they had not given up hope even though the workers' chances of survival were dim after 11 days.
If those workers are found dead, it would be among the worst accident of its kind in 58 years of communist rule, second only to an explosion that killed 214 miners in 2005. The government has pledged to improve safety, but owners flout safety rules and illegal operations abound to fuel the country's growing energy needs.
Rescuers had called off efforts to save the Mengs after more than a day, and grieving relatives burned ceremonial "ghost money" for the men's souls to use in the afterlife. They left food offerings of steamed buns, cakes and canned goods at the entrance to the illegal mine in Beijing's Fangshan district.
Doctors have said the Mengs, whose ages were not reported, had kidney damage from lack of water but no other major injuries. Beijing News ran a photo of the men dressed in hospital gowns, surrounded by relatives.
Officials have said rescue work was halted after experts determined there was no chance that the brothers from the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia had survived. Efforts to extract them would also have put rescuers at risk, they said.
The Mengs said they had worked for state-owned mines in the past but turned to the illegal mine _ which had no oxygen, ventilation or emergency exits _ because they got paid every two weeks or so, as opposed to once a month. Still, they said they made only about US$265 (


Updated : 2021-05-17 10:02 GMT+08:00