15 November 2018
South America World News

The 33 miners from Chile, 8 years later

On August 5, 2010, a collapse in the San José mine, a deposit located in the Chilean commune of Caldera, left 33 miners trapped. Seventeen days later, on August 22, they were found alive, although they could not be rescued until October 12, after a pharaonic operation to free them from the bowels of the earth. This is the reconstruction of the life of these men, which the special envoy Francisco Peregil wove with the testimonies of their families.

From the 700 meters of depth in which they are, many of the trapped have promised their partners that they will get married as soon as they leave. Others resist, even though they have lived with them and have children in common. Others, who have not seen their mothers for years, ask them by letter not to leave that hill, to continue there waiting for them. Many lived in pensions in the city of Copiapó, one hour by bus from the mine. They worked in shifts of 12 hours for seven days and rest seven others. If they were called, they used to accept overtime on rest days because they were paid twice as much as on a normal day. If not, they took the bus to their regions. Some traveled up to 15 hours to the South.
If they had died, maybe everything would still be the same. The news would hardly have attracted attention, as it was not called by the other deaths of Chilean miners in recent years. They would be one more number to add to the previous ones. After 17 days, a month or two, families would have to return from the mine to their homes. Now, through his letters, his appearances on video and the comments of his closest friends, have gained human stature. Society can appreciate the longings, the frustrations, the problems, the qualities that were in each one of them. The half-full part of the bottle consists in thinking that the drama they are going through may help to never again open a mine in Chile under such conditions..
Chile 2010.

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