Chile miners still recovering a year on

2011-08-03 11:02

kalahari.com

Copiapo - Most have travelled for the first time and some have tasted fame, but only a few of the 33 Chilean miners miraculously rescued one year ago after a disastrous cave-in have turned their lives around.

Invitations and offers of publicity poured in after the miners emerged from the San Jose copper and gold mine in northern Chile after 69 days trapped underground, in scenes watched by millions around the world on live television.

Seven of the 33 are still signed off on sick leave one year later, badly suffering from sleeping disorders, Alejandro Pino, a doctor from the Chilean Association of Security, said.

The rest "are living normal lives, while some are being treated for minor problems at home", Pino said.

But most of the miners say they are struggling to recover from the experience, with a large number still without stable work.

"Some have problems with their memories and they're suffering," said miner Luis Urzua, the head of shift on August 5 2010 - the day the mine collapsed - and the last freed in a dramatic rescue operation.

"We don't all have the same capacity to bounce back."

World united

Once outside, the world's media shone the spotlight on the group of men who survived more than two months about 700m underground in unbearable heat and darkness, barely eating for the first 17 days.

Since then, separately or together, they have travelled to more than 14 countries, rubbed shoulders with celebrities and accepted various invitations to recount their incredible tale of survival.

"This story united a world that wasn't used to these kinds of good things happening," Urzua said, one year on.

After the initial frenzy of activity, the last months have been relatively calm.

The first anniversary of the collapse - to be commemorated in a religious ceremony on Friday - finds them trying to rebuild their lives.

Most still live near the San Jose mine, in the city of Copiapo, about 800km north of the capital Santiago.

Compensation


Many have sporadic jobs far removed from tough mining work, making the most of donations received since the rescue.

Fourteen asked for early retirement because they feel unable to return to work. The government is still studying the request.

Authorities also face a multi-million-dollar negligence case filed by the mine workers, who are each seeking $500 000 in compensation.

Urzua and co-workers Samuel Avalos, Jorge Galleguillos, Omar Reygadas and Claudio Yanez have all given motivational speeches and talks about security in the workplace.

But Mario Sepulveda - the most theatrical of the 33, who brought stones from the bottom of the mine as presents - and his wife have set up a company to give motivational speeches which this week sent him to the United States.

He also oversaw a campaign to build homes for people affected by a massive earthquake in Chile six months before the mine collapse.

On different paths


"It's been great for me because I'm hard-working and I know that you have to know how to make the most of circumstances in life," he said several months ago.

On a different path, Osman Araya and Dario Segovia both now sell fruit and vegetables in a Copiapo market.

Pablo Rojas, Claudio Acuna, Florencio Avalos and Victor Segovia braved a return to mining work, while Pedro Cortez is studying.

Franklin Lobos, a former footballer, now leads lower divisions of the Copiapo Sports soccer club while the only foreigner of the group, Bolivian Carlos Mamani, rejected a job at home and returned to Chile, where he is seeking stable work.

Yonni Barrios, famed for nursing his trapped companions, has tested positive for a harmful lung disease that is typical among miners.

The mine's owners, who have made public apologies, now face a trial and possible compensation and rescue costs of about $20m.

The victims have still not revealed exactly what happened inside the mine, but have created a company to protect and exploit the rights in films, books and other products.

Read more on:    chile  |  chile trapped miners  |  mining
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.