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Precedent Set for Miners Surviving Long Rescues

Precedent Set for Miners Surviving Long Rescues

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingMany are starting to wonder if the six trapped miners could survive this long underground. We did some research and found at least 11 instances of miners being trapped eight days or longer.

In May of last year, two Australian miners trapped a half-mile underground were rescued after 14 days. Rescue teams were able to deliver food and water to the men before getting them out.

The year before, a gypsum miner was rescued in China after 11 days. Around the world, similar stories prevail.

In 1972, two men in Idaho were found in good condition after eight days trapped in a silver mine. Three miners also survived eight days in a flooded China mine. And in 2002, China coal miners survived underground on tree bark and muddy water for eight days.

In 1958 a bump shook a coal mine in Nova Scotia. The last group of survivors was pulled out after nine days. In West Virginia, six workers were freed 10 days after water flooded a coal mine in the 60s.

In South Korea in 1982, it took 14 days to rescue coal miners trapped 800 feet underground. Years earlier, a miner in that country survived 15 days underground. That's the same time it took rescuers to find two miners trapped in a collapsed mine in China in 2005.

But the longest successful mine rescue came in 1983. After 23 long days, two trapped Chinese miners were freed.

Most of the time in these cases, rescuers had made some kind of initial contact with the workers, but not always. In one instance, rescuers had found nothing until the 15th day, when they were rummaging through rubble, heard a faint voice and found two men.

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