Trapped miners get inspirational message

Sept. 5, 2010 at 8:00 AM   |   Comments

COPIAPO, Chile, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine got a message of hope from rugby players who waited months before being rescued from a plane crash, officials said.

"Don't give up," former rugby player Moncho Sabella told the miners via video Saturday, CNN reported Sunday.

Sixteen people on the airplane withstood frigid temperatures and high altitudes for 72 days before rescuers found them in the Andes Mountains 38 years ago. Twelve of the 45 passengers aboard died in the crash and other succumbed to their injuries before rescuers reached them.

The miners are trapped in a shelter 2,300 feet below ground near Copiapo. It was nearly three weeks before rescuers learned they were alive, and officials said it could be months before engineers drill a shaft allowing them to escape.

"Everything is possible if one fights to the end," former rugby player Gustavo Zerbino told reporters.

The miners also had their first video conference with members of their families Saturday.

"It's very important that people come from other countries to back us up," Maria Segovia, whose brother is trapped, told CNN. "The miners need it, they are the ones inside."

Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich told CNN the miners have been assigned tasks underground and been asked to simulate night and day on their own and to sleep in shifts.

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