Chilean Prez promises Palace to miners if they win football match against rescuers!

Friday, October 15, 2010

SAN JOSE - Chile’s 33 rescued miners will form a football team to play a match against officials who helped extract them to safety on October 25, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has said.

“The winners will get La Moneda [the presidential palace], and the losers will have to go back into the mine,” the New York Post quoted Pinera, as saying.

The President said that one of the miners, Frank Lobos, who was a professional footballer in Chile in the 1980s and 1990s, would captain the miners’ side.

The miners have warmly welcomed the proposal for the game.

All the 33 men were said to be doing well, although two were suffering from silicosis, a lung disease common among miners.

Jorge Montes, the deputy director of the hospital treating the men, said that all the miners “have gotten used to natural light” and only one had a corneal ulcer caused by an eye infection.

The last of the trapped miners was raised from the depths of the earth on Wednesday- 69 days after the San Jose gold and copper mine collapse.

An estimated 700,000 tonnes of rock collapsed inside the 121-year-old mine in the historically significant mining accident on August 5.

Rescue officials led by a senior United States mine engineer had earlier estimated that it would take three to four months to complete the rescue.

However, the rescue exceeded expectations every step of the way, as it turned out to be 69 days and about eight hours.

Once the escape tunnel was finished, they estimated that it would take 36 to 48 hours to get all the miners to safety, but as the operation went along all the miners were evacuated in 22 hours and 37 minutes. (ANI)

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