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Trapped Miners in Chile Get Message of Hope


The 33 miners who have been trapped underground in Chile for a month received some support Saturday from the survivors of another South American accident.

In 1972, a plane carrying members of an Uruguayan rugby team to Santiago, Chile's capital, crashed in the Andes Mountains. Most of those on board died but 16 stayed alive for 72 days in extreme conditions in the snow-covered mountains.

Four of the survivors visited the Chilean mine to bring what they said was a message of hope. One of the men, Jose Inciarte, acknowledged that there is little similarity between what they experienced and what the miners are enduring. But he pointed out that all of the the miners are alive. And he said they, like his teammates, are showing the will to survive.

Rescue workers are continuing their efforts to dig a tunnel big enough to extract the miners, who are 700 meters underground. The workers are planning to use three separate drilling machines in an operation that could take months.

The improbable story of how the 16 Uruguayan athletes were eventually rescued was told in a best-selling book entitled Alive, which was later made into a movie. The survivors stayed alive by eating the flesh of those who died in the crash.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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