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Disney to pay $1.3m for rescued miners' story

The nine miners who were rescued from a flooded underground chamber in Pennsylvania one week ago have negotiated a book and film deal with the Walt Disney Corporation that will pay them $150,000 (£100,000) each.

Producers are due to meet the men today to work out the final details of the film, which Disney plans to show on its ABC TV network next year. Disney is clearly hoping that the story will boost ratings on the channel, which has been suffering from slumping audiences.

By promising to pay a total of $1.35m, Disney beat off intense competition for the miners' story. Their ordeal will also be described in a book to be published by Disney's Hyperion Publishing division.

"We're pretty excited," said Randy Fogle, one of the men lifted to safety in a cylindrical cage on Sunday last week. They had spent 77 hours underground in cold temperatures and with nothing to eat except one corned beef sandwich.

The drama of their rescue, overseen by the state governor, Mark Schweiker, captivated the country. It also provided the press with a rare happy ending, a welcome break from news of souring markets and concerns about terrorism.