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Trapped Chilean miners send video message
Santiago, Aug 27 (Agencies)
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Published on 28 Aug. 2010 12:12 AM IST
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: A newly-released video appears to show that 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile are in good spirits.
The video was taken with a camera dropped down the narrow bore-hole that is the miners’ lifeline to the surface.
The miners are mostly shirtless, bearded and thin but are “reasonably” healthy, Chile’s health minister said.
They have been trapped since August 5 and were only discovered to be alive on Sunday. It could take as long as four months to rescue the men.
A shaft wide enough for the men to be lifted up must be drilled about 700m (765 yards) through the earth to the section of the San Jose mine where the men are trapped by a cave-in. In the video, one of the miners explains their conditions.
“We’ve organised everything really well down here,” he says.
“This is where we entertain ourselves, where we have meeting every day, where we make plans. This is where we pray.”
The other miners can be seen waving at the camera. Most have beards and have taken off their shirts. They all appear to be sweating. Against one wall can be seen cabinets with medical supplies.
One miner gives a speech praising his workmates and the others break into cheers and applause.
In one segment of the 45-minute video, broadcast on Chilean TV, a mining vehicle is being driven down a tunnel.
Health Minister Jaime Manalich said the miners had lost weight and were dehydrated but were “reasonably” healthy.
In the first 17 days of their confinement until contact was made with them they lost between 8kg-10kg (18-22lbs) each.
The miners seem to be well-organised, says the BBC’s Gideon Long in Copiapo, near the mine in northern Chile. They made emergency supplies meant for two or three days last for 17, he says.
They are now receiving supplies including rehydration drinks, games and anti-depressants through one of three bore holes from the surface. Another one provides a communications link and the third is to provide ventilation.
The miners were told on Wednesday that it could take up to four months to rescue them. Mr Manalich said they reacted calmly to the news.
A special exercise and recreation programme is being set up to keep the men mentally and physically fit during their long wait.
The family of one of the miners is suing the mine owners and government inspectors. They accuse the owners the San Jose mine of safety lapses and officials of negligently allowing it to reopen in 2008 following an accident.
Amid the lawsuit announcement, a judge ordered $1.8m (£1.2m) of the mine’s assets frozen to cover possible compensation costs.
Chile’s Congress is investigating the accident and President Sebastian Pinera has vowed to punish anyone found to be responsible for what happened.

 
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