These Two Miners Survived For 9 Days On Instant Coffee Alone  - Men's Health Magazine Australia

These Two Miners Survived For 9 Days On Instant Coffee Alone 

After being trapped in a collapsed mine, two miners managed to survive the nine day wait for rescue on instant coffee alone.

Few things would be more harrowing than being stuck in a collapsed mine. From the poor ventilation, to the claustrophobic space and the fear of cries for rescue never being heard, it’s safe to assume that for most, the circumstance is one that presents only in your worst nightmare. But for two unfortunate miners, it was their lived reality for nine days after a zinc mine in eastern South Korea collapsed due to a landslide. 

For the two miners, aged 62 and 56, the collapse of their shaft meant they were trapped almost 200 metres below the earth, with no way to escape and no means of food or water on hand. Their only source of hydration were the droplets that fell from the shaft’s ceiling.

Thankfully though, the pair did have on hand 30 packets of instant coffee powder, containing sugar and cream, forms of carbohydrate and fat, and enough energy to somewhat sustain the miners throughout the ordeal. In a move that could rival the decision-making skills of Bear Grylls, the pair added groundwater to the mix and drank the powder, according to reports from South Korean newspaper, The Korea Times.

In the search and rescue operation, emergency workers drilled a hole in the mine so as to be able to insert a small camera, which was then used to help locate the two men. Initial attempts failed, however rescuers were later able to find and identify the two miners.  

The men were eventually rescued nine days after the mine collapsed, and reported to be in surprisingly good conditions. Rescuers were able to help them out and get them admitted to hospital, where they’ve since been recovering. The fact that they lived to tell the tale has been hailed a “miracle” as South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol went so far as to thank them for “coming back safely from the crossroads of life and death.”

Speaking about the incident to Yonhap News Agency, the older of the two men said he is experiencing nightmares of the incident, but feels “like I’ve been reborn and am experiencing this world for the first time.”

Since news of the miners’ ordeal and their rescue has made headliners, the company responsible for the coffee mix – Dongsuh Foods – has seen a surge in popularity as doctors told reporters the miners survived as the coffee mixture they made helped maintain their body temperatures in such extreme conditions. The coffee mix sold in Korea is considered a high-calorie food which contains nutrients like 5 milligrams of sodium, 1.6 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar and 1.6 grams of saturated fat. While an adult male needs around 2,000 kilocalories a day, the coffee mix nevertheless helped sustain the pair. 

Internet users have joked that Dongsuh Foods should hire the miners as spokesmodels, while others have suggested the miners get a life-long sponsorship. For outdoor adventurers, instant coffee packets are now being added to the kit, as some appraise the product as one that can be used should an emergency present itself. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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