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New video released of trapped Chilean miners

August 27, 2010 7:21:59 AM PDT
Authorities released a new video of 33 men trapped in a north Chilean mine that shows the miners' living conditions. The images are reassuring and yet it is still hard to imagine what life will be like for the miners over the next few months trapped a half mile below the surface.

The men have already spent 21 days in the mine near Copiapo, 500 miles north of Santiago. Rescuers are scrambling to drill a rescue shaft to pull the men up.

The video, released late Thursday by Television Nacional de Chile via the Chilean government, showed the miners living in a dark, small room. They appear to be in good condition and in good spirits. Some of them can be seen playing dominoes. At one point they are shown singing the Chilean national anthem.

Rescuers made contact with the miners on Sunday. The miners' only link to the outside world are three six-inch holes drilled down from the surface.

The video camera was lowered down one of those holes so the miners could show the world what they are dealing with.

Rescuers said the miners are going to have to keep their weight down, because the hole they are drilling to get them out is only going to be 35 inches wide.

It may take up to four months to reach the men and that has authorities turning to experts like NASA to make sure the men stay in good shape, both physically and mentally.

"We have a great deal of experience regarding medical, nutritional and behavioral issues related to the space travel that we have done for decades and are providing that perspective to Chile so it can develop a program for helping to sustain these miners," said P.J. Crowley, a U.S. State Department spokesman.

Supplies are being sent to the miners through those six inch holes. The miners are also able to communicate with family. One thing they are not being told though is how long it may take to reach them, because authorities are concerned it could affect their morale.

The miners are also not being told some bad news about the company that hired them. The San Esteban company is on the verge of bankruptcy and the company said it can't even pay the miners wages.


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