SA miners back home after rescue operation in Chile

2010-10-23 11:11

Four South African miners who took part in the Chilean mine rescue operation received a rapturous welcome from friends and family when they arrived at OR Tambo International Airport this morning.

Wynand Botes, Mario Scholtz, Riaan Viviers and Johan Badenhorst were greeted with shrieks of delight and hugs of joy from elated family members as they emerged into arrivals hall.

“We’re flipping proud of them,” said Botes’ daughter, Thelma, moments before her father came through the doors.

Botes’ wife, Marie, said she had seen her husband on television news broadcasts.

The four men were sent to the San José copper-gold mine near Copiapó in northern Chile to help with drilling in a bid to reach the 33 miners who were trapped underground for 69 days.

Solidarity’s Dirk Hermann gave the four men a Stars in the Community award on their arrival.

The men, who are drilling experts, had been working at another mine in central Chile, south of the capital city of Santiago.
 
Their contracts had almost come to an end and they were due to return home when the disaster struck at the San Jose mine.

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