While the entire nation has been fixated on the Halloween tragedy in Seoul over the weekend, families of two miners believed to be trapped at a mine in Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province, have been praying for their safe return for nearly 10 days.
Thursday marks the ninth day since the zinc mine collapsed on Oct. 26. The two, aged 62 and 56, are thought to be in a vertical shaft some 170 meters underground.
It is unclear whether they are alive.
The rescue team had a minor breakthrough early Thursday morning, as they succeeded in inserting a video endoscope to check on the miners' condition.
According to the Gyeongbuk Fire Service Headquarters, drillers deployed to drill a hole reached the estimated location of the trapped miners around 5 a.m. Thursday, and the search with an endoscope began around 7:13 a.m.
The rescue team plans to check for the survival of the two miners, after which they will send down food, water and the necessary medical supplies.