News / Americas

Trapped Miners in Chile Begin Receiving Food, Water

Thirty-three trapped miners in Chile have started receiving food, water and other supplies intended to help them survive as they face a wait of up to four months before they are rescued.

Rescue workers started sending the supplies Monday through a narrow drill hole.  The miners are also expected to receive medication and communication devices.

The 33 miners were found alive Sunday after being trapped for more than two weeks in a mine near the northern city of Copiapo.  

A colleague of the miners told the French news agency they have about 1.8 kilometers of space within which to freely move around.

After discovering the miners were alive Sunday, engineers began making plans to drill a rescue tunnel through nearly 700 meters of solid rock.  
Authorities say the depth of the gold and copper mine, and the instability caused by the shaft collapse, will force them to work slowly.

Joyous families have been writing letters to boost the morale of their loved ones.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera announced Sunday the miners were alive after 17 days underground.  He showed reporters a note the miners had written saying they were well.

The miners attached the note to the end of a drill probe that had reached their emergency refuge deep underground.

A video camera lowered down the narrow 700-meter-long hole showed the miners with their shirts off because of the heat.

The miners became trapped following a shaft collapse on August 5.  It is not clear what caused the collapse.  The mine has a history of accidents and was reopened after having been closed in recent years.

Chile is the world's largest copper supplier.

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

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