Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who made a dramatic escape from house arrest last week, endured a dangerous 20-hour ordeal before reaching supporters who spirited him away to Beijing, fellow activist Hu Jia said. Hu met Chen at a secret location in Beijing last week. He told the Sunday Morning Post yesterday that on the night of April 21, Chen sneaked out of his village home in Linyi , Shandong province, where he had been under round-the-clock detention with his family for the past 19 months, and spent hours fumbling his way out of the heavily guarded village. He climbed over a wall, crossed ditches and a river in the dark before escaping from Dongshigu, Hu quoted Chen as saying. The activist, who lost his eyesight as a child, fell over 'at least 200 times' but forced himself to get up and continue his journey. 'After his escape, he got in touch with his supporters and they went to pick him up. It took 20 hours for him to get out of that dangerous environment,' Hu said. 'He was physically weak, but in good spirits. He gave me a firm handshake and I could feel his determination.' The whole journey from Chen's home in Shandong to Beijing took him three days, Hu said. Chen had long planned to escape his captors and had made several unsuccessful attempts, Hu also told Cable Television. Hu said Chen once dug a two-metre-deep tunnel, which he covered with dried leaves, but the escape was foiled. Hu said he was certain that Chen had taken refuge at the US embassy, which he believed Chen entered on Thursday afternoon. The US embassy refused to comment yesterday. Shortly after the telephone interview, Hu was summoned by police, said his wife, Zeng Jinyan , who was also summoned but later released. Two supporters who helped Chen flee, Guo Yushan and He Peirong , were also believed to be in police custody yesterday, fellow activists said. He, a supporter from Nanjing , said earlier that she picked Chen up and drove him to a 'safe place'. Guo told a reporter on Friday that he was under police surveillance and was likely to be detained. Both their mobile phones remained switched off yesterday. On Friday, Guo said it was 'a miracle' that Chen managed to escape. 'It was an impossible mission but he succeeded ... He said he would stay in China and continue to speak out and seek justice.' In a video posted online yesterday, Chen said he and his wife had been severely beaten in their home last year by local officials, who denied them medical treatment. He said hundreds of guards had at times been hired to stand outside his home and around the local neighbourhood. Hu said the video was made after Chen reached Beijing, but before he went to the US embassy. The position of Chen's family remained unknown, activists said. In his video, Chen appealed to Premier Wen Jiabao to protect them; saying local officials were likely to take 'violent revenge' following his escape. Hated by local officials for exposing abuses of population control policies, the outspoken activist was jailed for more than four years on what his supporters say were trumped-up charges of 'organising a crowd to disrupt traffic' and 'damaging public property'. Chen, a self-taught legal advocate who revealed forced abortions and sterilisations in Shandong, had been confined to his village home along with his wife, Yuan Weijing and their young daughter, and kept incommunicado, since September 2010, when he was released from jail.