Chinese Miner Found After 17 Years Goes Viral On Facebook, Except …

Have you seen the story of a Chinese miner, trapped for 17 years underground and miraculously recently rescued, shared in your Facebook feed lately?

The Chinese miner story is popular, in part due to its intriguing claim — how could someone remain alive for 17 years underground, is that even possible?

Possible, perhaps. True? No. Unfortunately, the miraculous Chinese miner tale is one cut from whole cloth, posted to a satirical or fake news site.

If you’ve seen the tale, it’s one that begins by reporting that miners were “excavating [in an area that] opened up in a section of an old mine that was abandoned 17 years ago after an earthquake that caused some large sections of the tunnels to collapse… they stumbled upon Cheung Wai, a 59-year old survivor from the 1997 accident, obviously in a rather bad shape.”

The Chinese miner story is accompanied by a heart-wrenching image of a man sobbing in what could be joy, or surprise, or sadness. And, according to the spurious news story, the Chinese miner “remained trapped underground with the bodies of 78 of his dead coworkers” for 17 agonizing years.

The implausible tale goes on to claim that the rescued Cheung Wai used his nearly two decade stint underground pursuing noble memorial measures for his imaginary fellow miners:

“He managed to survive thanks to an emergency stash of rice and water, stored in an underground depot, conceived especially for this kind of case. The man complemented his diet by catching and eating the countless rats that pullulate in the mine, as well as collecting large quantities of some sort of phosphorescent moss, which constituted his only source of vitamins. Even though he was suffering from great physical and mental stress, he managed to give proper burials to all of his comrades, spending almost a year in this great selfless act.”

As is common in a Facebook news era, many saw and shared the story of a Chinese miner trapped for 17 years on their feeds without digging slightly deeper.

Had they done so, they might have discovered the site’s disclaimer, which reads:

“All news articles contained within are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.”

So, while the story of the Chinese miner trapped for 17 years and rescued alive is a heartwarming one, it’s not true — and it is just another viral hoax.