After more than a month trapped underground, five miners were rescued on Sunday from a gold mine in western Tanzania.
According to AFP reports, the artisanal miners said they ate roots, soil, frogs, cockroaches and other insects in order to survive, after they became trapped when the shaft they were in collapsed on October 5.
Police claim the group of six – one of whom tragically died during the days underground – went down the mine in an attempt to rescue 11 other miners who were trapped. Those 11 are still missing and presumed dead.
As reported by the BBC, efforts by local people to rescue the Tanzanian miners were abandoned last month after about a week, as hopes of finding them faded, but after faint cries were heard by other miners, search efforts were quickly resumed.
This is one of the longest periods miners have remained trapped underground – reminiscent of the famous Chilean miners who were rescued after 69 days in 2010 in an operation which gained worldwide attention. Many will rightly wonder why this similar incident has received relatively little press coverage in comparison.
The Tanzanian miners described surviving in complete darkness, 100m under the ground, after the light from their phones and helmets was no longer available.
Speaking to Tanzanian television, survivor Chacha Wambura said:
We survived by eating cockroaches, frogs and other insects as well as drinking dirty water that seeped in from above.
The miners are now receiving treatment in hospital and are, understandably, said to be very weak.
Many people search for gold in unregulated mines in remote areas of Tanzania in the hope of becoming rich. However, the work is largely unregulated with no health and safety considerations – an issue which, sadly, is unlikely to change anytime soon, despite this latest incident.