Miners gather for emotional return
Monday 18 October 2010
Some of the rescued miners returned to the mine for a religious service at the place where they spent 69 days trapped underground yesterday.
The miners, their families and friends attended a ceremony led by Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy at the mouth of the San Jose gold and copper mine from which they were hoisted to freedom on Wednesday in a flawless rescue operation watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The private service was held in the area known as "Camp Hope," the tent city where family members gathered to pray and await news about their husbands, sons and fathers trapped for 69 days at 2,050 feet underground.
"It was inspiring," 52-year-old Juan Illanes, described by many as the group's spokesman, said after the ceremony as miners' relatives dismantled the tents that became their homes during the ordeal.
"Seeing this camp I feel I've had incredible support," he added. "It gives you strength."
As the miners sang hymns inside a cordoned-off tent, some of their co-workers who were not caught in the cave-in protested, blowing horns and holding up banners to demand that the mine's owners compensate them for the jobs they have lost.
"We are not 33, we are 300," read one placard. "Trapped on the surface," said another.
After the ceremony, Mario Gomez, who at 63 is the oldest of the 33 men, helped his family pack up their tent and voiced support for his out-of-work colleagues.
"We always had faith that we were going to get out. Now it is time to rest," he said.
The service was closed to the press. During the ceremony, participants could be heard clapping loudly and singing Chile's national anthem.
So far, the miners have not revealed many of the details about what it was like after the cave-in left them huddled together in a dark, damp cavern. Some have said they are saving their stories for a book.
Gomez's daughter said he has not talked about the worst moments and the family has not pressed him to open up.
"I want to know everything," Romina Gomez, 20, told Reuters. "But we don't want to ask him."
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Chicago river turns green to mark Saint Patrick's Day 2014
Saint Patrick's Day: Google Doodle celebrates patron saint of Ireland - here are 10 things you didn't know about the man himself
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Assistant Head Teach...
£6240 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Can you teach Food Te...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: My client require dynamic and innovative...
£30000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Industrial/Product...