World Bulletin / News Desk
Five miners in Tanzania, trapped underground for 41 days, have been rescued.
The men in Shinyanga, western Tanzania, survived after their nightmare began on Oct. 5 when a tunnel in their pit -- estimated to be 120 meters deep -- collapsed, trapping them underground.
Out of 20 miners in total, 14 were rescued, while six others remained missing. It is believed one of the six was found dead by rescuers on Monday.
Shinyanga regional police commander, Justus Kamugisha, told Anadolu Agency that the survivors were receiving medical attention in hospital; their conditions were described as critical but stable.
Speaking on the survivors’ health, Shinyanga district hospital’s Dr. Joseph Ngowi claimed it was a miracle for a human being to survive without food for two weeks.
“Normally, a healthy person can survive without food for about 14 days, but they survived for 41 days because they were feeding on insects and bark from the poles inside the pit,” said Dr. Ngowi told Anadolu Agency.
One of the survivors, Chacha Wambura, who managed to speak to journalists in Shinyanga, said while they were losing hope after spending seven days underground, they discovered a place where the sun’s rays shone through a crack and water seeped through.
“This gave us a new lease of life. We feed on insects like cockroaches, frogs and the bark of poles used to support tunnels,” he said.
“We used our helmets to collect water and drink it despite the fact that it was dirty… we had no choice,” he added.
Wambura said that one of their number who died had refused to eat the insects, becoming seriously ill due to hunger.
On Oct. 11, six days after the accident, the then deputy minister for energy and minerals, Charles Kitwanga, announced to the nation that it was impossible to rescue the victims, declaring that the trapped miners were all feared dead.