News / Americas

In New Video, Chilean Miners Appear in Better Condition

Composite picture of the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine in Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. (L to R) Alex Vega, Ariel Ticona, Carlos Barrios, Carlos Bugueno, Carlos Mamani, Claudio Acuna, Claudio Yanez, Daniel Herrera, Dario Segovia, Edis
Composite picture of the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine in Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. (L to R) Alex Vega, Ariel Ticona, Carlos Barrios, Carlos Bugueno, Carlos Mamani, Claudio Acuna, Claudio Yanez, Daniel Herrera, Dario Segovia, Edis

A new video of the 33 miners trapped for nearly a month in Chile shows them apparently in better physical and emotional condition than they were in a previous video.

Family members viewed the footage at a private screening at Camp Hope, their base camp at the entrance of the San Jose mine, and it was later broadcast on Chilean television.

In the video, the miners appear cleaner - shaved and wearing red shirts, which were sent down to them with other supplies. Some of the men can be seen waving at the camera and displaying a Chilean flag. Music can also be heard in the background.

The new footage marks a stark difference from the first video released last Thursday, which showed them bare-chested and with beards.

The miners have been trapped more than 600 meters underground since a cave-in August 5 in the gold and copper mine.

Chilean authorities have said it could take up to four months to rescue them.

Engineers began drilling the escape route on Monday. Officials say the drilling machine will excavate at a rate of about 6 meters per day.  

The drill will first create a narrow pilot hole, then a larger drill bit will be used to make the hole wide enough for a rescue capsule that will pull the miners to the surface.

A four-person team from the U.S. space agency NASA is helping in efforts to keep the men healthy while they are confined. The NASA experts met with Chilean authorities on Tuesday to discuss the plight of the miners.  

NASA has advised Chilean officials to be honest with the miners and not create "false expectations" about how long the rescue will take.

The drilling process will send up to 4,000 tons of rock and debris into the mine shaft. Officials say the miners will have to help in their rescue by clearing the rock as it falls.  

Rescuers first made contact with the miners early last week.  Owners of the mine have described the ordeal as "a terrible situation." Speaking to a government committee looking into the incident, Alejandro Bohn, co-owner of the San Esteban mining company, appealed to the victims for forgiveness.

Officials say some of the men have begun showing signs of depression and that some have developed fungal infections and body sores from the hot conditions underground.

The mine has a history of accidents and was shut down in recent years for safety reasons before being reopened. The mining company has denied accusations that it did not properly implement safety guidelines.

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

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