70° Good Afternoon
70° Good Afternoon
Hello, we've upgraded our systems.

Please log back in to enjoy your subscription. Thank you for being part of the Newsday family.

Forgot your password? We can help go here.

Log in

Trapped Chilean miners seen in underground shelter video

COPIAPO, Chile - The first video released of the 33 men trapped deep in a Chilean copper mine shows the men stripped to the waist and appearing slim but healthy, arm-in-arm, singing the national anthem and yelling "long live Chile, and long live the miners!" - images that bolstered family members' spirits Friday.

Camping just outside the entrance to the mine, those waiting for the miners' return said they were elated after seeing them - and that the men appeared to be in better shape than thought.

"It's entirely the opposite of what I thought!" said Antonio Bugueño, whose brother Carlos is one of those trapped. "I thought he would look much worse. But he appeared strong of heart and mind." About five minutes of what is reportedly a 45-minute video were released late Thursday by Televisión Nacional de Chile.

The men made the video with a camera sent down through a shaft drilled to their emergency shelter in the San José mine.

The grainy, night-vision images show some men standing, others lying down and apparently just waking up. One man displays the way they have organized the living room-sized shelter where they took refuge after a landslide trapped them. They also showed areas outside the shelter.

The miners were trapped by an Aug. 5 collapse, and rescuers established contact with them 17 days later by drilling a 6-inch hole to the shelter. Rescuers are working to drill a tunnel about 26 inches wide that could take weeks or months to complete.

At one point in video, the footage shows a close-up of a thermometer reading 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

The miners have each lost 22 pounds during the ordeal, and remain so dehydrated that they need a gallon of liquid a day to compensate. One of the boreholes will be dedicated for now to sending down water.

By early next week, a permanent phone line will be established so that they can talk with their families. By then, work should have begun on their escape tunnel.

What the men may not know is that the mining company that hired them is doing nothing to rescue them. The San Esteban company says it can't afford to pay their wages and may go bankrupt. Chile's state-owned mining company will drill the escape tunnel at a cost of about $1.7 million.

News Photos and Videos