Chilean Miners Send Note Saying They’re Alive; Rescue Operation Will Take 4 Months

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The 33 miners trapped in an underground copper mine in Northern Chile are all alive, according to Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Piñera announced the news during a televised remark where he said that the miners had sent a written letter attached to a drill up a 2,300-foot hole to the surface.

“All 33 of us are well inside the shelter,” the note said, according to Aljazeera. “This came out of the ground. It’s a message from our miners telling us they are alive, that they are together,” Piñera added.

The miners, who have already been trapped for 17 days after a rock collapsed above them at San José gold and copper mine, may have to wait a long time before they return to the surface.

Andres Sougarret, who is heading the rescue operation, estimated that it will take four months to safely rescue the miners, according to Bloomberg.

The miners are trapped more more than four miles inside the winding mine complex, but are believed to be using water deposits and ventilation shafts to survive. Rescue workers plan to send food, hydration gels and microphones in plastic tubes down the hole to the miners.

Before the note was sent to the surface, the Chilean government said that there was little hope that the miners would be found alive.

“It will take months” to get them out, Piñera said, according to Reuters. “It will take time, but it doesn’t matter how long it takes to have a happy ending.”

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

  • An Afro-Colombian community is facing expulsion to make room for gold exploration. The eviction — originally scheduled for Aug. 18 — has been suspended by the courts twice, but the community’s situation remains precarious. Roque Planas has more.
  • While the Obama administration and Congress inch toward loosening travel restrictions against Cuba, the trade embargo remains a firm fixture of U.S. policy toward the island. But the prospect of oil drilling in Cuba is prompting officials and analysts to rethink that policy. Raisa Camargo has the story.
  • A new report by the advocacy group National Council of La Raza says that programs allowing local police to enforce immigration law are ineffective and misuse authority. Alison Bowen has the story at her blog, Beyond Borders.
  • Documents declassified by the National Security Archive in Washington indicate that the Nixon administration advocated the use of death threats in order to save Dan Mitrione, a U.S. official who was kidnapped and executed by leftist guerrillas.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

Andes

Southern Cone

Image: @ Primero Chile @ Flickr.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email