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Birthday celebrations for trapped Chilean miners

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Birthday celebrations for trapped Chilean miners


The 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile have been celebrating a birthday. They were caught 700 metres below ground more than a month ago when their section of the San Jose mine caved in.

One of their number, Juan Illanes, turned 52 with a special video link chat his wife waiting for him on the surface.

Baeza Illanes said: “This year it’s different because he’s further away than ever in the conditions he’s in now. But his whole family is sending him lots of strength and love, because he knows we’re all supporting him.”

Rescuers have punched a shaft the diameter of a grapefruit to the men. It meant the birthday boy got as present from his wife – a pencil and paper.

“I’m not sad,” she said. “If I were I’d be sending bad him vibes. I’m calm because I know he’s strong and this is just temporary.”

Engineers are sinking rescue shafts to reach the miners. It is a long process, but rescuers hope to have them out before Christmas.

Until then, the small emergency shaft remains their only link with the outside world, through which they have been sent provisions ranging from water and books, to nicotine patches and medicine.

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