Gan Yu, 28, a hydropower station employee, stayed behind with his colleague, Luo Yong, after the area was hit by a magnitude-6.8 earthquake on September 5, which resulted in 93 deaths and numerous injuries.
China National Radio reports Gan administered first aid for his colleagues and released water from the dam in an effort to prevent flooding from taking place during the natural disaster.
Both Gan and Luo remained at their station for more than a day and were without food or a phone signal at the time, the AP reports.
The two then left the station on September 7 and walked for more than 12 miles when Gan lost his glasses and had difficulty navigating the mountainous terrain, according to local media outlets.
The duo decided to split up with Luo going to look for help and Gan staying in the area, having consumed wild fruits and bamboo shoots while waiting for assistance.
Luo was located by rescuers on September 8, but Gan had disappeared from the area where he intended to stay.
Responders found discarded clothing and footprints in the area and feared that Gan may have died from hypothermia.
However, Gan was later located by a farmer familiar with the mountains who joined the search on Wednesday (September 21).
Gan was reported to have survived his 17-day disappearance by eating wild fruits and drinking water, according to China Daily via the AP, but it wasn’t clear why he initially left the waiting spot.
Gan was flown to a nearby hospital and received treatment for several bone fractures.