Being buried alive is a nightmare scenario for many people, and few lucky souls live to tell after such an experience. This story, out of Tanzania, is one of the rare gems. Ending a 41-day saga that you probably haven’t even heard about, five trapped workers have been rescued from a gold mine 100 meters (328 feet) below the surface. They were trapped while trying to rescue another group of miners, who had become stuck in the mine after a shaft collapsed.

Miner emerging from a collapsed mine in Tanzania in 2008

The miners became trapped underground over a month ago when they descended to rescue another 11 miners. After a week-long rescue attempt, efforts were abandoned last month, leading many to call this development a miracle. For 41 days underground, the survivors subsisted on “roots, soil, frogs and cockroaches” according to BBC reports, and currently receiving treatment at hospital.

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Although rescue efforts had been halted last month, they resumed again after workers in a nearby mine reported hearing faint cries for help. The workers were trapped in a remote mining area in the northwestern Shinyanga region, some 900km (500 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, where many seek to find their fortune underground.

Tanzanian diamond miners

Being rescued after one of the longest periods that miners have remained alive trapped underground has proven problematic for the survivors, who told BBC reporters that their families presumed them dead and divvied up their property.

The 11 miners who were the original target of the rescue effort remain unaccounted for, and are assumed to have perished underground.


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