Chilean president chats with trapped minersSeptember 21st, 2010 - 11:56 am ICT by IANS
Santiago, Sep 21 (IANS/EFE) Chilean President Sebastian Pinera visited the mine in which 33 people have been trapped since Aug 5 and sent a message of hope in a video chat, amid the euphoria of Chile’s bicentennial celebrations.
The miners were trapped when a landslide caused a tunnel to collapse several hundred feet above them. They managed to survive by taking refuge in a large underground shelter. Rescuers have been supplying food, water, medical supplies and extra oxygen via small bore holes.
“May this spirit of unity, trust, and pride to be Chileans that we feel here light our way in this third century of independence,” the president said in his message.
“This is my fifth visit. I hope the next one will be to embrace the 33 miners as president and in the name of each and every Chilean citizen,” Pinera said.
“The miners were steadfast, they stayed united and fought for their lives,” he said, adding that their determination sets an example for a country currently celebrating its 200 years of independence.
“The spirit kept alive in this San Jose mine is one we hope will prevail always in our country,” the president said.
The president travelled during the weekend to the San Jose mine together with writer Isabel Allende, recently awarded the National Literature Prize, who had expressed her wish to visit the workers trapped there.
Allende is known for her book “The House of Spirits”.
Besides a collection of books for the miners, the author brought an unusual gift to the mine - 33 T-shirts used by swimmers who swam across San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island.
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Tags: alcatraz, alcatraz island, bicentennial celebrations, chilean president, collection of books, euphoria, isabel allende, landslide, literature prize, medical supplies, message of hope, mj, national literature, rescuers, san francisco bay, sebastian pinera, swimmers, trapped miners, underground shelter, unusual gift