BEIJING (Reuters) – Two Chinese brothers who tunneled their way out of a coal mine collapse after being trapped for nearly six days survived by eating coal and drinking urine, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Brothers Meng Xianchen and Meng Xianyou became trapped while working at an illegal mine in Beijing’s Fangshan District late on Saturday, August 18, the latest in a series of disasters to strike the world’s deadliest coal mining industry.
Two days later, rescue efforts were called off and relatives began burning “ghost money” at the entrance of the mine for the dearly departed.
“At first there was no feeling, but then I was so hungry I couldn’t crawl any more,” Xianchen told the Beijing News. “I got so hungry, I ate a piece of coal, and I thought it quite fragrant.
“Actually, coal is bitter and unsmooth but you can chew up pieces the size of a finger. In the mine, we picked up two discarded water bottles, and drank our urine. You can only take small sips, and when you’ve finished, you just want to cry.”
He said because they were eating coal, and were in the mine for nearly six days, they did not defecate.
“We were only able to do that the day before yesterday in hospital. It was full of coal.”
Both said they would not go back into mining.